Opera: Erismena, Princess of Media, by Cavalli
| New College
'Erismena in English!' 'Have you heard?' 'Erismena. What's the latest?' Yes, it's happened. The score is returning to Oxford. The Bodleian Library has acquired the earliest known opera manuscript with a complete English singing translation. They have saved it for the nation! To celebrate this, the opera this summer at New College, presented by New Camber Opera, is Cavalli's Erismena which was first performed in Venice in 1655. Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676) was the leading opera writer in Venice in the 17th century and Erismena was one of his most famous operas.
With the restoration of the monarchy in England, theatres reopened, opera returned and someone, between 1600 and 1675, produced an English singing translation for the popular opera Erismena. Set in the Kingdom of Media on the Caspian Sea, the plot is anything but simple. Words such as baroque, pastiche and an entertainment have all been used to describe Erismena.