Didone Abbandonata, I. Akt, 5. Szene: Luogo magnifico destinato alle pubbliche Udienze con Trono da un Lato

Deutsches Theatermuseum


In the case of this very luxurious coloured drawing with gold applications, we have a sheet made for presentation, i.e. to be shown to the potential patron. The sheet documents the high requirements demanded by Friedrich II from his court designer Giuseppe Bibièna. The drawing describes a scene from the opera Didone Abbandonata (Dido Abandoned), dealing with the love story between the Carthaginian Queen Dido and the Trojan hero Aeneas. The Saxon Court Music Director Johann Adolf Hasse set Metastasio’s text to music for the opera performed on 29 December 1752 at the Berlin Court Opera House. For scene five of the first act Bibièna devised an elaborate fantastic architecture: the spectator looked onto a three-floor high, open architecture that swings forward centrally and is decorated with filigree decoration. The view is directed through the arch of the proscenium which is set on volutes and which is borne on both sides by double columns that are embellished by garlands. Through the high central arch the city of Cartage, still under construction, can be seen in the background. The stage action takes place in front of this lavish architectural scenery. A throne set upon a platform comprising several steps and a high canopy dominates the right side of the stage. Here, Queen Dido just got up from her throne and walks towards the guests approaching her from the left. A man in oriental garb, Iarba King of the Moors, sits opposite her. In accordance with the libretto, Iarba disguised as Arbace is trying to gain Dido’ hand for himself, since she had already turned him down in the past. However, she rejects him this time as well. On the left, a soldier in ancient dress appears who offers gifts to Dido, including slaves, lions and leopards, in Iarba’s name.



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