|Giulio Cesare Synopsis|
|Giulio Cesare Libretto|
|Contralto or Mezzo-Soprano or CounterTenor|
|Previous scene:||Presti omai l'Egizia terra|
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George Frideric Handel
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17
"Empio, dirò, tu sei!"
Act I, Scene I
Libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym, after Giacamo Francesco Bussani.
Opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto was first performed at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, London, on 20th of February 1724 with legendary alto castrato Senesino (Francesco Bernardi) performing the title role, Francesca Cuzzoni as Cleopatra and the castrato Gaetano Berenstadt in the role of Ptolemy, or Tolomeo as he is called in the Italian libretto.
In the preceeding scenes, The Egyptian people welcome Caesar to Alexandria. Cornelia and Sextus, Pompey's wife and son, request that peace be made between the two Romans, and Caesar agrees. In order to win Caesar's favour, the Egyptian king Ptolemy sends his general Achillas to present Caesar with the head of Pompey who has been murdered. Caesar is outraged by this deed. Apalled, Caesar sings this rage aria, "Empio, dirò, tu sei!"
Among the artists who performed/recorded this role/aria are:
Mezzo soprano: Janet Baker, Sarah Connolly
Countertenors: Andreas Scholl, Graham Pushee, David Daniels, Jeffrey Gall
Contralto: Jennifer Larmore, Martine Dupuy, Marijana Mijanovic
Baritones: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Yep! a baritone version of the role), Norman Treigle
Empio, dirò, tu sei!
Togliti agli occhi miei!
Sei tutto crudeltà!
Non è di re quel cor
che donasi al rigor,
che in sen no ha pietà.
You are a villain, I say!
Get out of my sight!
You are all cruelty!
This is not a king, whose heart
Abandons itself to such harshness,
who has no pity in his breast.
Empio, dirò, tu sei, togliti a gli occhi miei, sei tutto crudeltà.
Non è da re quel cuor, che donasi al rigor,
che in sen non ha pietà.
Empio, I will say, you are, take off from my eyes, you are all cruelty.
It is not like that heart, that donasi to the rigor,
that in sen he has no mercy.