SALIERI: Prima la musica e poi le parole

Music composed by Antonio Salieri. Libretto by Giovanni Battista Casti.

First performance: 7 February 1786, Schˆnbrunn Orangerie,

Principal performers:
Maestro Bass
Poet Bass
Eleonora Soprano
Tonina Soprano

Setting: A room in the house of the Maestro.


Count Opizio orders a new opera to be written within the space of four
days. The composer has already turned out the score, but the poet, suffering
from deadline pressure, must adapt his verses to the existing music.
Eleonora, the prima donna hired for the opera by the Count, enters and
delivers a sample of her vocal artistry. Together with the Poet and the
Maestro, she acts out a scene from Giuseppe Sarti’s Giulio Sabino
that devolves into a grotesque parody. Eleonora exits, and the librettist and
the composer wrestle with the problem of writing a new text for the existing
music or producing music for an existing text. A lengthy dispute ensues.
Tonina, representing opera buffa, enters and demands a role
in the new opera. The composer and the librettist quickly concoct a vocal
number for her. A quarrel then erupts between the two singers as to which of
them should sing the opera’s opening aria. The scene culminates in having
both sing their arias simultaneously. The composer and the librettist are
able to pacify the two ladies by agreeing to a juxtaposition of the
seria and buffa styles, thereby putting a conciliatory end
to their quarrel.

[Synopsis Source: Prima
la musica e poi le parole
, B‰renreiter BA 7698a (2007)

Click here for score.


image_description=Antonio Salieri
first_audio_name=Antonio Salieri: Prima la musica e poi le parole
iTunes, FooBar2000, WinAMP or VLC
product_title=Antonio Salieri: Prima la musica e poi le parole
product_by=Enrico Fissore (Maestro), Vladimir Druzdak (Poet), Durdevka Cakarevic (Eleonora), Nada Linda Siriscevic (Tonina), Festival Opera Ensemble, City of Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Nicza Bareza (cond.)
Live performance: DubrovnÌk, Rector’s Palace Atrium, 6. August 1973