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Overture to 'Cleopatra'

for orchestra
edited by Nick Rossi
Edition: Performance material

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Domenico Cimarosa was the most famous and popular Italian opera composer of the second half of the 18th Century. In the course of a brilliantly successful career he composed more than 65 operas as well as a significant body of instrumental music and works for the church. His operas were performed all over Europe, both in Italian and in translation. A number of Cimarosa’s operas continued to enjoy occasional stagings during the 19th Century, and his most famous work, Il matrimonio segreto, is one of only a handful of operas of the period never to have left the repertory. Cleopatra (the title is sometimes given as La Cleopatra) - a two-act dramma serio - was written for Catherine the Great during the time Cimarosa served as Maestro di cappella to the Russian Court at St Petersburg. The opera was probably intended to commemorate the anniversary of Catherine’s coronation which fell a few days before its first performance on 27 September 1789 at the Kamennyi Theatre. Despite the silence observed by Cimarosa’s contemporaries concerning Cleopatra, it is certain that it enjoyed some success for it was given several performances at St Petersburg, where, in 1802 and 1804 it was still in the repertory under the impresario Canassi’s direction. Cimarosa so liked the overture he wrote for Cleopatra that he ‘borrowed’ it for the early performances of his Penelope written five years later for Teatro del Fondo in Naples to open the Carnival season of 1794-95. For Penelope, Cimarosa extended the Cleopatra overture by some 43 bars. Like all of Cimarosa’s overtures, the current example is remarkable for its vitality, melodic invention and assured handling of the orchestra.

Orchestral Cast

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Overture to 'Cleopatra'
for orchestra
edited by Nick Rossi
Performance material
Artaria Editions
5 ′

Technical Details

Product number:
LAE 240-01
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