Antonio Vivaldi: Il Teuzzone RV 736

Vivaldi Hardbound

Edited by Alessandro Borin and Antonio Moccia

Two-volume set: score pp. XXIV, 298 / Introduction and critical commentary pp. 246 [Italian and English texts]
PR 1450
Piano vocal score available
CP 140505

[Excerpt from the Introduction]

Il Teuzzone is one of three drammi per musica set by Antonio Vivaldi for which two complete examples of the score survive (the others are Arsilda, regina di Ponto, RV 700, and Tito Manlio, RV 738). The first source (“A”), which once belonged to the personal archive of the composer, is today held by the Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria in Turin; the second source (“B”) is a copy made in Mantua for the purposes of the production that subsequently passed out of the control of the composer and was taken over the Alps possibly by the landgrave or a German nobleman in his entourage, ending up in its presentday location, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Source A is a working score copied out by three different scribes (numbered “4”, “10” and “11” in Paul Everett’s system of classification), with additions and changes in Vivaldi’s hand; source B is a calligraphic copy of A produced by the same scribes, likewise under the supervision of the composer.

The second manuscript was executed before the opera opened, but after Vivaldi had made a series of revisions and modifications in his working score. Later on, when the copy had already been prepared, the composer made some final corrections to A (mostly corrections of scribal errors) plus some changes that made their way into B only occasionally, often in the form of instructions. In contrast, certain other alterations, such as added parts and instrumental passages or annotations relating to scoring written in shorthand form, were indicated only in B. The function of B was probably similar to that of the calligraphic copy of Tito Manlio, performed in Mantua immediately after Il Teuzzone, where both examples of the score were used for the production. The main source used for the present Critical Edition is the composer’s working score, A.

Both sources, though otherwise complete, lack an opening sinfonia. This lacuna, common to many extant scores containing Vivaldi’s operas, reflects the fact that introductory instrumental pieces were often composed last and, as such, were written down on a separate gathering. For the production of Il Teuzzone the sinfonia of Arsilda, regina di Ponto was employed. The principal source used for this Edition is the copy of the sinfonia made in Mantua (“S”) especially for the performance of Il Teuzzone by “Scribe 12”, who worked from the autograph score of Arsilda.

The only other authoritative source for Il Teuzzone is the libretto published by the archducal printer, Alberto Pazzoni. The text has no virgulated passages, nor cancels (carticini) inserted between pages to record additions or replacements of special note. Even if the libretto and the score took shape in parallel, they each retain a relative independence, particularly in matters relating to their different function and recipients. The occasional divergences between the words printed in the libretto and those underlaid to the notes in the score do not reflect a more advanced state of editorial revision existing in one source or the other, but are merely the result of a lack of communication between composer and/or literary adapter and printer: i.e., misalignments brought about by the short time-frame and the customary methods of working associated with operatic productions.

Characteristics of the Primary Source: Processes and Categories of Revision

Source A is a working score, which is to say a complete or near-complete preliminary draft of the opera acting as a canvas on which to implement all the changes needed for its adaptation to a particular production. This modus operandi, which is typical of the early phase of Vivaldi’s career, but which also continues—albeit appearing more sporadically— into his later years, reflects the normal working conditions of an opera composer of the early eighteenth century. Indeed, the score of an opera took shape in successive stages, factoring in all the conditions and requirements that came together to determine its definitive physiognomy.

Until a few years ago, Vivaldi research tended to regard Il Teuzzone as a pasticcio by virtue of its high incidence of borrowings and reworkings (greater than in other Vivaldi operas), plus the fact that at least one aria contained in the score, Ritorna a lusingarmi (II.17), was attributed in other sources to Giuseppe Maria Orlandini. More recent studies have brought to light the connection between the libretto of the Mantuan Teuzzone and the one staged in Turin in September 1716 at the Teatro Carignano, where the composers were Casanova and Fioré. These similarities concern not only the general dramaturgical make-up but also the texts of a few musical numbers evidenced by the remains of movements copied out in the first draft of Vivaldi’s score but later deleted. So it is necessary to ascertain the extent to which this score contains material derived directly from the one used in Turin in 1716. The hypothesis of a ‘contamination’ between the two operatic productions is suggested as well by the fact that the respective companies of singers had a member in common, the contralto Anna Maria Lodovica d’Am bre ville, and that the leader of the one in Turin, the castrato alto Battistino Carboni (“Carboncino”), was a senior member of the Cappella Arciducale in Mantua. A copy of the score created by Casanova and Fioré could, therefore, have been transported to Mantua by one of the singers, although one cannot rule out an independent arrangement between the two theatres. According to Strohm, 48 who was the first to advance this hypothesis, one cannot even be sure that also the recitatives of the Mantuan Teuzzone are not derived, at least partly, from the Turin score, in view of the compatibility of the respective vocal registers.

List of Arias

Act I
Egaro, Come suol la navicella
Zidiana, Tu, mio vezzoso
Sivenio, In trono assiso
Cino, Taci per poco ancora
Teuzzone, Ove giro il mesto sguardo
Zidiana, Sarò tua regina e sposa
Zelinda, La timida cervetta
Aria a 4, Alma bella che vedi il mio core
Teuzzone, Come fra turbini
Cino, Mi va scherzando in sen
Sivenio, Non paventa già mai le cadute
Zelinda, Ti sento, sì, ti sento

Act II
Teuzzone, Di trombe guerriere
Teuzzone, Tornerò, pupille belle
Zelinda, Un’aura lusinghiera
Egaro, La gloria del tuo sangue
Zidiana, Vedi le mie catene e ti confondi
Teuzzone, Sì, ribelle anderò, morirò
Sivenio, Non temer, sei giunto in porto
Cino, Nel suo carcere ristretto
Zelinda, Guarda in quest’occhi e senti
Zidiana, Ritorna a lusingarmi

Cino, Quanto costi al mio riposo
Zelinda, Con palme ed allori
Zidiana, Sì, per regnar
Cino, Son fra scogli e fra procelle
Sivenio, Base al regno e guida al trono
Teuzzone, Antri cupi, infausti orrori
Teuzzone, Dille ch’il viver mio
Zidiana, Io sembro apunto