Temistocle (4 November 1736), on a well-worn subject previously treated by Zeno, directly corresponds to Attilio Regolo in the following way.(22) These historical dramas depict heroism and self-sacrificing love for the fatherland.
(22) Attilio Regolo could not be performed on 4 November 1740 because of the emperor's death on 19 October; it was not given until 1750.
Like its original Italian counterpart, it is sometimes idiosyncratic; a letter by Metastasio on ancient Greek music is included, but not his indispensable Estratto dell'arte poetica with its apologia for current operatic practices, or his famous letter to Hasse prescribing the setting of Attilio Regolo
; Avison's overrated Essay on Musical Expression gets in, instead of the more acute Three Treatises of James Harris; the standard works on instrumental playing appear (Quantz, Leopold Mozart, C.
This is clear from the texts themselves, but is also evidenced in his letters: for instance, he feels the need there, for the benefit of his Venetian publisher Bettinelli, to refute a pamphlet-attack on alleged character-inconsistencies in Demofoonte (which are in fact, he claims, diversities in individual character, true both to life and to the best traditions of Virgil, Ariosto and Tasso); and he goes to the trouble of sending a set of verbal character-sketches of the principal figures in Attilio Regolo to Johann Adolf Hasse in Dresden when that composer is preparing to make the delayed first-ever setting of the piece.(8) Hence the performers in his dramas must of course be part of this character-project.
For an example of his work on the active expression of character, one can use his letters to construct how he might have rehearsed with the performer who was going to take the lead in the planned premiere of Attilio Regolo in Vienna in November 1740 in honour of the Emperor's birthday.
20 (1983; whole issue)) and Sabine Henze-Doring for Attilio Regolo
('Die Attilio Regolo
- Vertonungen Hasses und Jommelli', ibid., No.