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Giuseppe Mercadante


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Virginia Synopsis


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About the opera Virginia

Virginia is an opera, a tragedia lirica, in three acts by composer Saverio Mercadante. The Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano is based on Vittorio Alfieri's tragedy of the same name. Alfieri's play was in turn taken from a story in Livy's Ab Urbe condita. Although initially written for performance in 1850 at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, the subject matter of Mercadante's opera was objected to by the Bourbon government censors and performance was banned outright. That decision was widely ridiculed, not just in Italy, but throughout Europe. After the fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1861, the ban on the opera no longer existed. The work finally had its premiere on 7 April 1866 at the Teatro di San Carlo. Although not the last opera composed by Mercadante, it was the last of his operas to reach the stage. Virginia has been rarely performed since its premiere, but a recent 2009 recording of the work was released on the Opera Rara label.
Mercadante first suggested Virginia as the subject of an opera to La Fenice in 1839, but the idea was rejected. After the triumphant success of his 1846 opera Orazi e Curiazi in Naples, Mercadante was invited to tour the Austrian territories of Venice, Triest, and Milan conducting performances of his own works. He left Naples to begin the tour in August 1847, and, after a success in Milan, was asked by La Scala to compose a new work, La schiava saracena ("The Saracen slave"). That opera was supposed to premiere in January 1848, but a major revolutionary disturbance beginning on the 5th of that month postponed the opera's premiere and cut short Mercadante's tour.
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Roles in Virginia

Virginia Soprano
Appio Claudio Tenor
Virginio Bass
Icilio Tenor
Marco Baritone
Tullia Soprano
Valerio Tenor

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Popular videos from Virginia

All scenes from Virginia

Nr.Title scenePopularityOperaComposerActTypeVoicesLang.Roles
1Ah! tant oltre non credea Popularity:

Opera: VirginiaComposer: MercadanteAct:

Type: Voice: Language: Italian