Nero (Il Nerone)
a dramatic cantata
Editor: Edited by Barbara Sachs
for bass (F-g') & bc
C. Claudius Nero is depicted as seriously wicked, according to the unhistorical notions of the time, according to which he burned Rome “to see what Troy looked like in flames” and, dying, said “qualis artifex pereo!” (what an artist now dies in me!).
Giovanni Filippo Apolloni (ca. 1620-88) intended his poetic texts primarily for opera, oratorio and cantatas. Settings of these texts were made by Stradella, Pasquini, Viviani, and Cesti. Il Nerone (also set for bass voice by Stradella and available in a companion edition to this one) is a historical-representational (i.e dramatic) cantata, within a narrative frame, having a repeated refrain and a rhetorical moral sentence at the end. Such structures lent themselves to musical setting and afforded the composers opportunities for frequent madrigalisms (including a Monteverdian stile concitato in Cesti’s setting).