Il Giustino

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Il Giustino
Opera by Giovanni Legrenzi
Justin I by Giovanni Battista de'Cavalieri.jpg
Late 16th-century depiction of Emperor Justin I, the opera's protagonist
Librettist Nicolò Beregan
Premiere 12 February 1683 (1683-02-12)
Teatro San Salvador, Venice

Il Giustino is an opera in three acts by composer Giovanni Legrenzi. The work uses an Italian language libretto by Nicolò Beregan based on the life of Emperor Justin I. The opera premiered on 12 February 1683 in Venice at the Teatro San Salvador.[1]

Background and performance history

Considered one of Legrenzi's finest compositions, the work includes more than 70 arias.[2] The opera tells the story of Giustino's rise from the position of a simple poor farmer to being crowned the Byzantine Emperor.[3] For several decades following its 1683 premiere at the Teatro San Salvador, Il Giustino was one of the most widely performed Venetian operas. According to musicologist Reinhard Strohm, its music was still being discussed as late as 1720 in Marcello's Il teatro alla moda.[4]

On April 26, 2007 Il Giustino had its first modern revival at the Schwetzingen Festival in a production directed by Nicolas Brieger with set designer Katrin Nettrod and costume designer Jorge Jara.[5] Musicologist and conductor Thomas Hengelbrock prepared the performance score for the production, and also led the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble in performances of the work.[3] Soprano Elisabeth Kulman led the cast in the title role of Giustino, with Georg Nigl as Ariannas, Cornelia Ptassek as Arianna, Terry Wey as Andronico/Flavia, Delphine Galou as Eufemia, Peter Kennel as Vitaliano, and Hermann Oswald as Amantio.[5][6]


Role[7] Voice type Premiere cast
12 February 1683
Emperor Anastasio soprano
Empress Arianna soprano
Giustino soprano
Eufemia soprano
Vitaliano contralto
Andronico soprano
Amanzio tenor
Polimante bass
Erasto capitano bass
Brillo bass
Ombra di Vitaliano bass
Atlante Basso
Imeneo mezzo-soprano
Fortuna soprano
Allegrezza soprano
Gloria soprano
Eternità contralto


  1. ^ Amanda Holden (2001). The New Penguin Opera Guide. Penguin Group. p. 484. 
  2. ^ Jon Paxman (2014). A Chronology of Western Classical Music 1600-2000. Omnibus Press. p. 109. ISBN 9781783231218. 
  3. ^ a b Horst Koegler (August 2007). Germany: Schwetzingen. Opera. p. 39. 
  4. ^ Strohm, Reinhard (2005). "Vivaldi and Handel's Settings of Giustino", pp. 132–133. Music and Theatre: Essays in Honour of Winton Dean. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521619289
  5. ^ a b "Il Giustino". Opernwelt. 48: 3. 2007. 
  6. ^ "Schwetzingen Opens With Legrenzi". Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  7. ^ Nicolò Beregan and Giovanni Legrenzi. Dario Zanotti, ed. Il Giustino (PDF). 
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