Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: Il prigionier superbo
Based on the anonymous recasting of a libretto derived in turn from La fede tradita e vendicata by Francesco Silvani (1705), Il prigionier superbo by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi was first performed on 5 September 1733 at the Teatro di San Bartolomeo in Naples. With this opera – his second dramma serio for San Bartolomeo in less than two years – the young composer (who had already acquired considerable professional stature in the city’s theatres, churches, and aristocratic circles) reprised a perennially popular subject centered around the dramatic conflict between filial piety and devotion to one’s betrothed. Inserted between the opera’s three acts were the intermezzi of La serva padrona, which would soon go on to take all of Europe by storm.
The primary source for this edition is a manuscript copy of the score currently housed in the Conservatorio di Musica “San Pietro a Majella” in Naples and prepared by Giuseppe Sigismondo, who was quite probably working from the now-lost autograph. Two other significant manuscript copies of the score also housed in Naples (respectively in the Biblioteca Oratoriana dei Girolamini and the aforementioned conservatory) were consulted, along with a number of manuscript copies of individual arias.
The edition is furnished with a historical introduction, which traces the libretto’s complicated literary lineage and illustrates the circumstances of the opera’s commission, genesis, premiere, and subsequent history; and a critical apparatus containing detailed source descriptions and critical notes for both the text and the music. An earlier version of the last movement of the Sinfonia, and an aria for the third act whose text does not appear in the original printed libretto, are provided as appendices.
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi Il prigionier superbo
National edition of the Works of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
(Casa Ricordi,Milan, with the collaboration of Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini di Jesi)
Critica edition by Claudio Toscani
Naples, Biblioteca del conservatorio di musica “san pietro a majella”, rari 7.6.9, f. 1r. First page of the score copied by Giuseppe Sigismondo, probably from Pergolesi’s autograph manuscript of Il prigionier superbo. This manuscript copy does not include the ‘recitativi secchi’.