La divisione del mondo

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La divisione del mondo
Opera by Giovanni Legrenzi
La divisone del mondo - cover illustration.jpg
Illustration from the 1675 libretto
Librettist Giulio Cesare Corradi
Premiere 4 February 1675 (1675-02-04)
Teatro San Salvador, Venice

La divisione del mondo (en: The Division of the World) is an opera in 3 acts by composer Giovanni Legrenzi.[1] The opera uses an Italian language libretto by Giulio Cesare Corradi and was commissioned by the Marquis Guido Rangoni.[2] The opera tells the story of the division of the world after the Titan deities were defeated by the Olympian gods. The goddess Venus provides the central conflict of the opera through a series of moral temptations which lead all of the other gods, with the exception of Saturn, into debauchery.[1]

La divisione del mondo premiered on 4 February 1675 in Venice at the Teatro San Salvador.[3] The opera was immensely successful at its premiere; and became Lengrenzi's most widely performed work, with 13 productions in Italy between 1683 and 1699.[4] Part of the works success was due to the elaborate and expensive sets, machinery, and special effects employed at its premiere.[2]

In 2000 La divisione del mondo had its first modern revival at the Schwetzingen Festival using a performance score prepared by musicologist Thomas Hengelbrock.[5] The production was directed by Philippe Arlaud and starred Sonora Vaice as Venus, Kobie van Rensburg as Jupiter, Gabriela Sima as Juno, Simone Kermes as Cinzia, Matthias Rexroth in Apollo, Ilana Davidson as Cupid, Bernhard Landauer as Mercury, Hilary Summers as Mars, James Taylor as Neptune, Wolf Matthias Friedrich as Pluto, and Petteri Salomaa as Saturn. Hengelbrock conducted the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble for the performances.[6]


Role Voice type Premiere cast
4 February 1675
Giove (Jupiter), brother of Nettuno and Plutone tenor
Nettuno (Neptune), brother of Giove and Plutone tenor
Plutone (Pluto), brother of Giove and Nettuno baritone
Saturno (Saturn), father of Giove, Nettuno and Plutone baritone
Giunone (Juno), wife of Giove mezzo-soprano
Venere (Venus), father of Amore soprano
Apollo, brother of Cinzia contralto Caterina Forti[7]
Marte (Mars), son of Giove and Giunone contralto
Cinzia (Cynthia), sister of Apollo soprano
Amore (Cupid), son of Venere soprano
Mercurio (Mercury), son of Giove contralto
Discordia (Eris) contralto


  1. ^ a b Bruno Forment (2012). (Dis)embodying Myths in Ancien Régime Opera: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Leuven University Press. pp. 28–29. 
  2. ^ a b Alois Maria Nagler (1959). A Source Book in Theatrical History. Courier Corporation. p. 269. 
  3. ^ Giovanni Legrenzi; Giulio Cesare Corradi. Dario Zanotti, ed. "La divisione del mondo" (PDF). 
  4. ^ Stephen Bonta: "Giovanni Legrenzi", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed June 27, 2005), (subscription access)
  5. ^ Horst Koegler (August 2007). Germany: Schwetzingen. Opera. p. 39. 
  6. ^ Review: La divisione del mondo. Early Music Review. 2000. pp. 10–11. 
  7. ^ Beth L(ise) Glixon (2005). Inventing the Business of Opera: The Impresario and His World in Seventeenth-Century Venice. Oxford University Press. p. 176. 
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