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Music Text

Libretto by Ferdinando Moretti (I)


2S,highAltus,Altus,T; minor roles; chorus; ballet;

Abbreviations (PDF)


Anton J. Benjamin / Simrock

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Teatro della Pergola, Florence
Company: .


ATALIBA, Inca, king of a part of Peru Alto
ENRICO, Nobleman from Castile, lover of Idalide High Alto
IDALIDE, Virgin of the Sun Soprano
PALMORO, Inca of noble blood, her father Tenor
ALCILOE, sister of Ataliba Lyric Soprano
IMARO, Confidant of Enrico minor role
Virgins of the Sun, Priest of the Sun minor roles (from chorus)
The rulers of the Peruvian Empire, Peruvian soldiers
Time and Place

Peru in the 16th century


Young Enrico, a Spanish war hero marooned on the shores of the Inca Empire, falls in love with the temple servant Idalide. Though she secretly returns his love, Idalide knows her love is inappropriate for her position as ‘Maiden of the Sun’. For the time being, the two of them seek refuge in brave mutual austerity. Enrico receives noble honours for his military achievements and, as a reward, is given the hand of Alciloe, sister of the Inca king Ataliba – an utterly painful honour for all involved. When the temple is destroyed by an earthquake, Enrico hurries towards it to rescue his lover. He enters the forbidden holy area and persuades her to escape with him. According to traditional law, this is a crime that which is punishable by death, but as the culprit is missing, Idalide’s father Palmoro is threatened to be punished with penance. Eventually the couple is caught and Idalide has to face her sentence: being buried alive. Deeply distressed, Palmoro turns against Enrico. Shortly before the sentence is carried out, Enrico interferes, announcing his intention to die together with Idalide. The Inca king is moved and talks to the two of them, eventually changing his mind. The barbaric old practice is finally abolished.
Helen Geyer



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