Cimarosa, Domenico: Overture to 'Allessandro nell'Indie' (AE263) – sheet music


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Cimarosa, Domenico (1749-1801)

Product Code: AE263
Description: Overture to 'Alessandro nell'Indie'
Edited by: Allan Badley
Year of Publication: 2000
Instrumentation: 2ob 2cor 2trbe 2vn va vc/b
Binding: Score: Stapled / Parts: Unbound
Duration: 10 min(s)
ISBN: 1-877230-63-4

Audio sample


Alessandro nell'Indie (Alexander in India) was Cimarosa's first opera to a text by Pietro Metastasio, a tale of confrontation between Alexander the Great and Porus as recorded by both Arrian and Curtius Rufus among other classical writers. It is the same tale and basic libretto used by, among others, Pacini, Vinci, Hasse (who titled his opera Cleofide), Gatti, Handel (who titled his Poro), and J.C. Bach. Cimarosa's Alessandro nell'Indie, a dramma per musica in three acts, was first presented at Teatro Argentina in Rome on 2 January 1781. Though the opera was later produced in Warsaw in the summer of 1792, the statement made by Umberto Manferrari in his biographical entry on Cimarosa in the Dizionario universale dell'opere melodrammatiche (Florence, 1954) that Alessandro nell'Indie appeared at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, on 1 March 1791, is obviously incorrect as the annals of that theatre, as reported by William C Smith (The Italian Opera and Contemporary Ballet in London 1789-1820) lists several peformances of an opera or operas of that title but none by Cimarosa.

The story of Alessandro nell'Indie is concerned with Poro, an Indian king, defeated by Alessandro Magno, who is determined to save Cleofide, queen of another part of India. Gandarte, Alessandro's general, having assumed the name Asbite, is sent by Alessandro to Poro to offer peace. Timagene, Alessandro's confidant and secret enemy, loves Ersena, Poro's sister, who is now a prisoner. Ersena obviously admires Alessandro who releases her, thus arousing Timogene's jealousy of the king. Amidst assumed identities in true Metastasian fashion, there is a horrifying climax in which Cleofide threatens to immolate herself rather than marry Alessandro. At this point Poro reveals his own true identity and Alessandro forgives and unites the lovers.

This edition is based on the holograph score preserved in the library of the Conservatorio di musica S Pietro a Majella, Naples. As is the case with all Cimarosa's autograph material the overture to Alessandro nell'Indie shows signs of having been composed at breakneck speed. Every conceivable notational shortcut is taken and his placement of articulation and dynamic markings is erratic. It has been necessary, therefore, to frequently interpret the composer's intentions and even at times to impose an editorial solution where his own thoughts are not clear. In making sense of Cimarosa's score the style and notation of articulation and dynamic markings have been largely standardised throughout, and, where missing, markings have been reconstructed from parallel passages. These are indicated by the use of dotted slurs or brackets where appropriate. Obvious wrong notes have been corrected without comment; editorial emendations with no authority from the source are placed within brackets. Nick Rossi Allan Badley

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