Saverio Mattei (1742-1795) was a very eclectic figure in the context of the Neapolitan culture in the second half of the eighteenth century. The article illustrates and discusses the librettos he wrote to solemnize the birthdays of the King of Spain Charles III, the King of Naples Ferdinand IV and his wife Maria Carolina of Austria. The special dramatic works requested in these occasions, called “prologhi”, were performed in the San Carlo theatre before the opera, and consisted of short actions for three characters alluding to the festive circumstances. Mattei was conscious of the risk of boredom inherent in the celebratory genre, so he tried to make more interesting his pièces by adopting mythological subjects linked to Neapolitan locations and traditions. His most interesting creation in this field is “Il natal di Telefo”, set to music by Giacomo Insanguine in 1770. For this “prologo” Mattei was inspired by an ancient fresco discovered in Herculaneum and preserved in the royal museum in Portici. So the painted figures (Heracles, Auge, their son Telefo who does not speak, and the god Pan) became the characters of the dramatic action. Thanks to this original invention, Mattei had the opportunity to connect the occasional cantata with the great adventure of archaeological discoveries, which represented an element of prestige for the Bourbon dynasty.
|Numero di pagine||27|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2016|