La Salustia: Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1732)

Marziano (Vittorio Prato) and Salustia (Serena Malfi)

★★★★

(Teatro Pergolesi, Jesi, 2011)

There’s no middle ground for rulers in Baroque operas. They’re either tyrants demanding submission at any cost, or weak figures who are manipulated by their ambitious courtiers. Alessandro, otherwise known as the emperor Alexander Severus (208-235), is one of the latter. When this opera opens, he’s very much in love with his new wife Salustia, the daughter of his general Marziano, and doesn’t understand why his mother Giulia dislikes her so much. Salustia, however, knows the reason only too well.

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