Major Operas | Il pomo d’oro by Antonio Cesti | Early & Middle Baroque

The Golden Apple

Premiered: 1668, Vienna
Libretto by Francesco Sbarra


Personifications of the Habsburg territories gather in praise of Austria and its emperor, Leopold I.

Act I

During a banquet in Giove’s palace, Discordia, goddess of strife, throws a golden apple inscribed ‘to the most beautiful’ among the assembled goddesses. Venere, Pallade and Giunone all claim it, and Giove decrees that the prince Paride will decide. Paride and the nymph Ennone are together on Mount Ida when Mercurio brings news of Giove’s decree. The shepherd Aurindo reveals his love for Ennone. At Paride’s palace Giunone, Pallade and Venere try to win the apple, which goes to Venere when she offers Elena in exchange.

Act II

Paride prepares to leave to claim Elena, but still affirms his love for Ennone. At the mouth of hell Caronte is cheered at the prospect of many new arrivals resulting from the coming war. Pallade calls on Cecrope, King of Athens, to defend her honour.


Giunone orders Eolo, god of the winds, to destroy Paride’s ship. Ennone laments her loss, while Aurindo’s hopes are raised. Venere persuades Marte to support Paride and the Trojans. When Eolo unleashes the winds, Venere also persuades Nettuno to calm the seas so that Paride can continue to look for Elena. Marte defeats the Athenians and captures Cecrope.

Act IV

The temple of Pallade is destroyed by an earthquake, and the remaining Athenian forces depart for battle. Venere and Marte taunt Cecrope, but news comes of the approaching Athenians, whom Pallade helps in the battle.

Act V

Ennone accepts that she has lost Paride and submits to Aurindo. Giove destroys the tower on which the golden apple is standing, and it is finally awarded to Empress Margherita.

Personalities | Antonio Cesti | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera


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