Serse at Royal Opera in Stockholm – synopsis
Composer and librettist
Musik: Georg Friedrich Händel. Lyrics: Not known after Silvio Stampiglia and Niccolò Minato
First performance on:15 of April 1738. Swedish premiere at: Stockholm, Operan 1985. Seen the performance at : 12.10.2009 på Kungliga Operan i Stockholm.
The Persian kinq Xerxes, after contemplating the beauties of a tree, finds himself even more struck by the beauty of Romilda. He tells his brother, Arsamenes, to act as go-between, but Arsamenes and Romilda are secretly in love with each other. To complicate matters, Atalanta, Romilda’s sister, also loves Arsamenes and hopes Xerxes will succeed with Romilda. When Xerxes’ overtures are rejected, he banishes Arsamemes.
Amastris, a foreign princess betrothed to Xerxes, arrives and, to observe events more closely, disguises herself as a man. The Kinq welcomes Romilda’s father, Ariodates, commander of the army, back from a successful campaign. Xerxes rewards Ariodates by arranging a match for Romilda with a member of the Royal family. Amastris, understanding that Xerxes plans to marry Romilda himself, vows revenge.
Meanwhile, the banished Arsamenes sends his servant, Elviro, with a letter to Romilda.
Atalanta fails to persuade Romilda that Arsamenes is unfaithful. but nevertheless decides to persevere in her campaign to win Arsamenes’ love.
Elviro, in disguise, tells Amastris about Xerxes’ passion for Romilda. Meeting Atalanta, he asks her to deliver Arsamenes’ letter. Instead, she shows it to Xerxes, pretending that Arsamenes is writing to her and only feigns love for her sister. Xerxes then passes the letter on to Romilda; devastated, she still remains faithful to Arsamenes. Amastris contemplates suicide. but decides first to confront the King.
Xerxes unveils a new bridge to Europe, to faciliate an armed invasion. Relievinq that Arsamenes actually loves Atalanta, the King offers to make peace with his brother. But Arsamenes reaffirms his love for Romilda, prompting Xerxes to confront the deceitful Atalanta.
Elviro, caught in a storm, witnesses the collapse of the bridge.
Amastris, still disguised, watches Xerxes continue his seduction of Romilda. Impetuously intervening, she is only saved from imprisonment by Romilda’s intervention.
Romilda and Arsamenes discover the plot to separate them: Atalanta admits defeat. The sudden arrival of the King forces Arsamenes to hide. After Xerxes makes several veiled tnrea , the fearful Romilda agrees to marry him if her father consents As Xerxes departs, Arsamenes emerges from his hiding place to turn furiously on Romilda.
Ariodates is delighted to hear that Romilda will marry a member of Xerxes’ family, wrongly assuming that the intended groom is Arsamenes.
When Xerxes next encounters Romilda, she admits that she has had physical relations with Arsamenes: the outraged King orders his brother’s death. With Amastris’ help, Arsamenes escapes, but remains convinced that Romilda has betrayed him. Romilda and Arsamenes’ argument carries them into a temple, where and Arsamenes argument carneb uiein into a lenipie, wncic too late: the woman he loves has married his brother.
When the crazed King commands Arsamenes to kill Romilda, Amastris reveals her true identity. Xerxes repents, she forgives him, and both unions are blessed.