Cesti’s L’Argia: An entertainment for a royal convert

L’Argia by Cesti and Appoloni was first performed in Innsbruck in 1655as part of the festivities honoring the public conversion of Queen Christina of Sweden to Roman Catholicism. Extant librettos—at least 15 in number—indicate that the opera enjoyed frequent revivals over a period of 35 years. 3 scores of L’Argia exist, 2 in Naples and 1 in Venice. The Naples scores agree with each other and with the libretto printed at Innsbruck in 1655. The Venice score, which differs considerably from the others, agrees with the libretto printedfor a revival of L’Argia in Venice in 1669. Differences between the 2 versions are discussed, and the opera’s comic scenes, aria forms, and the small number of accompanied recitatives are described.

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