VINCI: La Partenope

Music composed by Leonardo Vinci. Libretto by Silvio Stampiglia.

First Performance: 1725, Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo,

Principal Characters:
Rosmira, Princess of Cyprus Soprano
Partenope, Queen of Partenope (later Naples) Contralto
Arsace, Prince of Corinth Soprano
Armindo, Prince of Rhodes Tenor
Emilio, Prince of Cuma Mezzo-Soprano
Ormonte, Captain of Partenope’s Guard Tenor


Partenope (or Parthenope) appears in Greek mythology and classical sources
as one of the sirens who taunted Odysseus. One version has her throwing
herself into the sea because her love for Odysseus was not returned. She
drowns. Her body washes ashore at Naples, which was called Partenope after
her name. From this, Silvio Stampiglia created a fictional account where
Partenope appears as the Queen of Naples. According to Robert Freeman:

[T]he libretto for Partenope . . . [was] first set for performance in
Naples during 1699 with music by Luigi Mancia, and produced all over Italy in
more than a dozen versions with music by a variety of composers . . . [The
libretto involves] a young lady named Rosmira, once betrothed to and then
deserted by Arsace, now a suitor of Partenope, Queen of Naples, where the
drama takes place. Early in the libretto, Rosmira, disguised as a man,
charges Arsace with infidelity and defies him to redeem his honor by
promising never to reveal her identity. After Arsace promises, Rosmira taunts
him before the court, then challenges him to a duel, which Arsace quite
naturally tries to evade. But in the final scene Arsace hits upon a solution.
He agrees to the duel, but on condition that it be fought with combatants
stripped to the waist. . . Rosmira admits her identity and there is no

Notes, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Dec., 1971), pp. 216-217.

here for the complete libretto

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Arsace: Roberta Invernizzi
Emilio: Lucia Cirillo
Armindo: Makoto Sakurada
Ormonte: Rosario Totaro
Rosmira: Maria Grazia Schiavo
Capella della Pieta de’ Turchini
Direttore: Antonio Florio
Live Performance: 10 July 2004, Festival International d’OpÈra Baroque de Beaune