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Fatiche di ercole

Text Teresa Favi

February 7, 2022

Baroque festival in music at La Pergola

Melani's Hercules in Thebes returns to the Pergola Theatre 360 years after its premiere

History and spectacle return to Florence for an unprecedented event that takes us back more than 360 years!!!
The appointment is Wednesday 9 February, at 20.30 at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, with the staging of Hercules in Thebes, a theatrical feast in music, revived in concert form after more than three and a half centuries by the choir and orchestra of I Musici del Gran Principe conducted by maestro Samuele Lastrucci, directed by Massimo Pizzi Gasparon Contarini and with a cast that includes, among others, the singer of international renown Filippo Mineccia.

It all began with the discovery of four copies (in three different libraries, the Forteguerriana in Pistoia, the Vaticana in Rome and the Nazionale in Paris) of the original score of Melani's opera, which was presented for the first time on 12 July 1661 in Florence's Teatro della Pergola, built by Ferdinando Tacca thanks to the patronage of Cardinal Giovan Carlo de' Medici, brother of Ferdinand II. 
The Pergola was entrusted to the management of the Accademici Immobili, a group of nobles and intellectuals who wanted an enormous theatrical celebration with music for the wedding of Cosimo III de' Medici to Margherita Luisa d'Orléans. The libretto was written by Giovanni Andrea Moniglia, an Academician of the Crusca, an erudite man of letters and Giovan Carlo's personal physician. The music was entrusted to Jacopo Melani, one of the greatest representatives of the lineage of opera singers and organists from Pistoia. The result? A veritable five-hour theatrical colossal for which more than 300 performers were engaged and 12 sets were used. It was one of the most emblematic events of the 17th century in Florence, continuing the long tradition of Florentine court shows: in fact, since the 16th century, important dynastic events had been celebrated with great pomp and magnificence. 
It was only then that the location also represented a real novelty: because Hercules in Thebes coincided with the public inauguration of the Teatro della Pergola in Florence (already partially operative since 1657), when a new form of theatre was shown to everyone, the one that would later become 'Italian-style'.
After that historic 'premiere', the opera was never performed again until the discovery of the four copies of the original score, which made it possible to re-elaborate it in the form of a concert, strongly desired by Samuele Lastrucci, director of the orchestra and of the Museo de' Medici in Florence, who is the leader of the entire operation. 


In this article we talked about Teatro della Pergola

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