L'eroe cinese von Pietro Metastasio und Johann Adolf Hasse, Warschau 1754

Variant title
Pietro Metastasio's and Johann Adolf Hasse's L'eroe cinese in Warsaw (1754)
Source document: Musicologica Brunensia. 2018, vol. 53, iss. Supplementum, pp. 249-259
  • ISSN
    1212-0391 (print)
    2336-436X (online)
License: Not specified license
L'eroe cinese is a very important work in the history of operatic theatre in Warsaw (that was a cultural centre of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) as it is the first opera seria in the strict sense of the term that was staged here and the first of a series of Johann Adolf Hasse's opere serie staged subsequently between 1759 and 1763 in the King's Opernhaus of August III in Warsaw (the theatre itself was opened in 1748). It is probable that 1754 performance was led by the composer himself. The opera was accompanied by ballets choreographed by Antoine Pitrot, including the concluding ballet chinois pantomime (possibly a ballet d'action, thus one of the earliest examples of the genre) and L'adoration de la pagode. L'eroe cinese was, therefore, of particular importance for the theatrical and literary culture of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The libretto by Metastasio was printed in Warsaw in its original Italian version as well as Italian-French and Italian-German editions. Moreover, in 1755 a Polish translation Bohatyr chiński was issued in print. To stage the opera in Warsaw in honour of August III's birthday (7 October), the 150-strong artistic and technical personnel serving Dresden Electoral Court moved to the Polish capital. Amongst the numerous spectators of the eight performances were not only the King and the Queen, their two sons and almighty Minister Heinrich von Brühl but also aristocratic elite of the Commonwealth including the future King Stanisław August Poniatowski. The focus of the paper is placed on the special circumstances of Warsaw staging of L'eroe cinese, then the Author deals with ideological overtones and form of the Metastasian libretto (Vienna, 1752) as well as its musical setting by Hasse (Hubertusburg, 1753), in both cases Warsaw version bearing minor differences from original settings.
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