Music composed by Vicente MartÌn y Soler. Libretto adapted from
Andromaca by Apostolo Zeno and Andromaque by Jean

First Performance: 26 December 1780, Teatro Regio di
Torino, Turin

Zeno’s [Racine’s] Principal Characters:
Pirro [Pyrrhus], son of Achille, King of Epirus (Ipiros) and lover
of Andromaca
Andromaca [Andromaque], widow of Ettore, Trojan princess and slave
of Pirro
Astianatte [Astyanax], adolescent son of Andromaca
Telemaco, adolescent son of Ulisse raised by Andromaca under the
name of Astianatte
Ulisse, King of Itaca and Greek ambassador
Ermione [Hermione], daughter of Melelao (King of Sparta) and Helen,
promised to Pirro and lover of Oreste
Eleno, prince of the royal Trojan blood and secret lover of
Oreste [Orestes], son of Agamennone (King of Argo) and lover of
Eumeo [Phoenix?], tutor of Telemaco and confidante of Ulisse
[Pylade], friend of Oreste
[ClÈone], confidante of Ermione

Setting: Troy after its fall to the Greeks


According to the Argomento to his libretto, Zeno explained that this work
is as amalgam of Andromaca of Euripides and Racine and of the
Troadis (Troades (The Trojan Women)) by Euripides
and Seneca. Although none of the characters are of his own invention, Zeno
asserts that he has woven them together in an authentic manner.


At the end of the Trojan war Andromaca [Andromaque], Ettore’s
[Hector’s] faithful widow, her son Astianatte [Astyanax] and his
‘brother’ Telemaco [Telemachus in The Odyssey], Ulisse’s
[Ulysses’] child, whom she had abducted and raised as her own, are held
captive by Pirro [Pyrrhus] (soprano), King of Epirus, who desires Andromaca
although she rejects his love. She fears for the life of Astianatte, whom the
Greeks regard as heir to Ettore’s strength. The Spartan princess
Ermione [Hermione], betrothed to Pirro [Pyrrhus], is overcome with jealousy
at her lover’s betrayal, and wants to eliminate her rival. Ulisse
[Ulysses (or Odysseus)] comes to press Pirro into honouring his commitment to
Ermione, to punish Andromaca for the abduction and murder (he thinks) of his
son, and to kill Astianatte. Protected by Pirro, Andromaca hides the boys in
Ettore’s tomb. When Ulisse discovers them, she reveals that one of them
is his son. After Ermione identifies Telemaco, and Astianatte is taken to be
executed, Pirro commands that Telemaco too must die. Ulisse then relents and
their lives are spared. Pirro, hearing that Andromaca would kill herself if
forced to be his wife, accepts Ermione.

here for Zeno’s complete libretto

Many thanks to Carlo Vitali for his helpful comments.

image_description=The death of Astyanax (18th Century engraving)
first_audio_name=Vicente MartÌn y Soler: Andromaca
WinAMP, VLC, FooBar
product_title=Vicente MartÌn y Soler: Andromaca
product_by=Elena de la Merced (Andromaca)
Flavio Oliver (Pirro)
JosÈ Ferrero (Oreste)
Beatriz Lanza (Ermione)
MarÌa JosÈ Martos (Pilade [Pylade])
Pilar Moral (Clearte [ClÈone])
Luis Soto (Astianatte)
Cuarteto Canales: Juan Linares (violÌn), Esther Rubio (violÌn), Luis Ll·cer (viola) and Javier AlbarÈs (violoncello).
Live performance, 5 July 2006, Patio de los M·rmoles del Hospital Real, Granada
Please note there is distortion at the very beginning of the stream.