Personalities | Pietro Metastasio | Classical Era | Classical

(Pi-et’-tro Met-ta-shta-syo) 1698–1782
Italian librettist and poet

Metastasio was the leading Italian librettist of his era, and creator of the tradition of a particular kind of serious opera. He was born in Rome, worked initially there and in Venice, and settled in Vienna in 1730 as poet to the imperial Habsburg court. He wrote numerous texts for music, elegant and mellifluous in style, of which the most famous were his 27 for three-act heroic operas, usually with elaborate plots on classical, historic or dynastic themes and with a strong moral content, featuring noble behaviour and inner conflict (usually duty v. passion) and showing the triumph of virtue and reason as well as divine (or royal) benevolence. Metastasio’s librettos, of which the most popular were Alessandro nell’Indie (‘Alexander in India’) and Artaserse (‘Artaxerxes’), provided the backbone for Italian opera seria throughout Europe; many were set repeatedly and modified as tastes changed. He took a deep interest in their settings and corresponded voluminously with the various composers.

Introduction | Classical Era | Classical
Personalities | Matthias Georg Monn | Classical Era | Classical


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.