Alessandro in Efeso, the lost opera of João Domingos Bomtempo

Alessandro in Efeso, the lost opera of João Domingos Bomtempo

When I first heard about this opera, I was as excited as a kid in an ice cream shop. Uncovering “unsung” pieces or “secret” composers is one of my biggest hobbies, and this opera looked like it was going that way. After a bit of research, I found (sad face) that either he never really finished it, or it got lost during his last tumultuous years.

Nevertheless, a fully orchestrated Introduzione and four other numbers with piano reduction have survived. This gave me an urge to finally orchestrate them, using the information and knowledge I got while engraving all of his orchestral works and respective critical editions.

Instrumentation

The Instrumentation I used was the same the composer used in his Introduzione:

2 Flutes (Flauti), 2 Oboes (Oboi), 2 Clarinets (Clarinetti), 2 Bassons (Fagotti), 2 Horns (Corni), 2 Trumpets (Trombe), 3 trombones (Tromboni)
Violins (violini) I & II, Violas (viole), Cellos (violoncelli), Basses (Contrabassi)

Types of Voices

The voices Bomtempo uses are male-oriented, with three basses, three tenors and a male choir, leaving a Soprano for Campaspe (Alessandro’s lover) and a Mezzo for Ipponatte (a poet) which was written with a “Hossenrolle” in mind.

ALESSANDRO, Alexander the Great ……….…………… Tenor
CAMPASPE, Alessandro’s lover …………………..…….… Soprano
IPPONATTE, a poet …………………………………..………… Mezzo-Soprano
APELLE, a painter??? ……………….……………….……..… Tenor
SETIMO, ???? ……………………………………………..…….… Tenor
MUSTAFÁ, ???? ……………………………………………..….… Bass
PAMENE, ???? …………………………………….…………….… Bass
CALIFO, ????   …………………………………………….…….… Bass
Male Choir …………………………………………….………….… Tenors I & II, Basses

Scenes and numbers

We have now five fully orchestrated numbers and a different perspective of what the opera might have been in this early romantic period in Portugal.
So here are the surviving parts of the opera:

No. 1. Introduzione
Setimo, Mustafá, Califo, Coro
“Splende sereno e fulgido”

No. 2. Aria
Ipponatte
“Ceder lisogna al fato”

No. 3. Duetto ed coro
Apelle, Pamene, Coro
“Sconsigliati, ave andate!”

No. 4. Cavatina
Campaspe
“Fermati, traditor”

No. 5. Duetto
Alessandro, Campaspe
“Quando pago, o destino”

 

The surviving music from the opera. First page of full score
First page from Full score
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