Major Operas | La fedeltà premiata by Joseph Haydn | Classical Era
Premiered: 1781, Eszterháza
Libretto by Giambattista Lorenzi
Amaranta reads an inscription in the Temple of Diana describing how two lovers are to be offered to a sea monster every year until a hero sacrifices himself. Melibeo, the High Priest, chooses the victims and everyone has to be careful not to cross him. On his advice, Lindoro abandons the nymph Nerina for Celia, but Amaranta makes the mistake of preferring Count Perrucchetto to Melibeo. Fileno believes his beloved Fillide is dead, unaware that she is actually Celia. When she sees Fileno, Celia tries to maintain the deception or give herself away to Melibeo. The Count’s fleeting interest in Nerina makes Amaranta furious. Melibeo tells Celia she must either marry Lindoro or face the monster with Fileno; before she is forced to accept, she is abducted by satyrs.
Melibeo plans to win Amaranta’s love by pairing off Celia and the Count, and he persuades Nerina to seduce Fileno. Fileno succeeds in killing a wild boar that is chasing Amaranta, but the Count claims the kill. Fileno contemplates suicide, but manages to break his arrow while carving his story on a tree. Celia finds the carving and the arrow and believes he is dead. On Melibeo’s instructions the Count enters a cave where Celia is hiding. When the pair emerges Melibeo announces that they are to be this year’s sacrifice.
Fileno refuses to accept Celia’s protestations of innocence. Fileno declares that, to save Celia, he will be the single sacrificial victim and hurls himself in front of the sea monster, which turns into a grotto from which Diana appears. She brings together Celia and Fileno, Nerina and Lindoro, and Amaranta and the Count. As a punishment for his scheming, Melibeo is taken as her victim, but the curse on Cumae has been lifted.
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