PIAZZOLA SUL BRENTA 1680 -- [RAPPARINI, Giorgio Maria]. Berenice Vendicativa Drama per Musica Da rappresentarsi in Piazzola nel Nobilissimo Piazzola dell'ill. et eccell. sig. Marco Contarini Procurator di San Marco. Consacrato All medisima Eccellenza L'Anno MDCLXXX. Padua: Pietro Maria Frambotto, [ca 1680].
12o (139 x 78 mm). Engraved frontispiece and 13 engraved folding plates by JACOPO RUFFONI and DOMENICO ROSSETTI after FRANCESCO SANTURINI. Green paper boards.
The opera Berenice Vendicativa, written by Rapparini with music by DOMENICO FRESCHI, was first performed on 11 November 1680 at the private residence of Marco Contarini just outside Venice in Piazzola. Staged as the most spectacular of spectacles, the production boasted a cast of 400, including 100 damsels, 100 mounted men, 100 soldiers, and 40 footmen, along with numerous musicians, pages, hunters, coachmen, and stable boys. Adding to its magnificence, the opera also made use of two lions, two elephants, several horses, and a wild boar. Berenice Vendicativa represented the height of the colossal baroque mentality popular in 17th-century Venetian opera, and for a two-week period it was performed each evening from six until eleven. The enthusiastic audience included both foreign and Italian ambassadors and nobles, many of whom paid Contarini 400 lire to stay in his palace for the duration of the festivities surrounding the entertainment. The show quickly became famous for its incomparable quality, ingenious stage direction, numerous scene changes, and the richness of its costumes and set decorations designed by Francesco Santurini. Unfortunately, production of the opera came to an abupt halt when an overhead storage room collapsed, destroying the chariots used in the show and frightening the horses. Loewenberg Annals of Opera, 1680.