Metastasio, Pietro

(redirected from Antonio Domenico Bonaventura Trapassi)

Metastasio, Pietro

Metastasio, Pietro (pyĕˈtrō mātästäˈzēō), 1698–1782, Italian poet and librettist, whose original name was Antonio Bonaventura Trapassi. A prodigy at poetic improvisation, he became court poet at Vienna in 1729. He wrote melodious lyric verse; a masque, Gli orti esperidi (1721–22); and librettos of many operas, including Didone abbandonata (1724), Artaserse (1730, tr. 1761), La clemenza di Tito (1734, tr. 1811), and Il re pastore (1751, tr. 1765). These librettos were set to music by many composers, including Gluck, Handel, Mozart, Pergolesi, and Rossini. Metastasio, with Apostolo Zeno, whom he succeeded as imperial poet laureate at Vienna, created the rigid opera seria (see opera). His melodrama Attilio Regolo (1750) is generally considered his masterpiece.


See his Dramas and Other Poems (3 vol., tr. 1800).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Metastasio, Pietro


(pseudonym of Pietro Trapassi). Born Jan. 3, 1698, in Rome; died Apr. 12, 1782, in Vienna. Italian poet and opera librettist.

In 1730, Metastasio became court poet of Vienna. His opera libretti are classical examples of opera seria. Almost all 18th-century composers who wrote operas on historical and mytho-logical themes—as well as composers of pastorals, serenades, and cantatas—used his texts, which were noted for their lofty imagery, subtle depiction of the lyrical states of the heroes, poetic refinement of language, and compositional balance.

Among Metastasio’s 27 opera libretti (dramma per musica) that were repeatedly set to music were Didone abbandonata (1724), Siroe (1726), Ezio (1728), Semiramide riconosciuta (1729), Alessandro neWIndie (1729), Artaserse (1730), Demetrio (1731), Demofoonte (1733), La clemenza di Tito (1734), Giro riconosciuto (1736), Temistocle (1736) Antigone (1743), and I! re pastore (1751).


Stendhal. “Zhizneopisaniia Gaidna, Motsarta i Metastazio.” Sobr. soch., vol. 8. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from French.)
Russo, L. Metastasio. Ban, 1921.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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