Bononcini or Buononcini, musical family of Modena, Italy. Giovanni Maria Bononcini, 1642-78, choirmaster and organist at Bologna and Modena, was a composer and the author of Musico prattico (1673). His son Giovanni Bononcini, 1670-1747, was a composer, chiefly of operas. In London he was the associate and later the rival of Handel. The opera Muzio Scevola (London, 1721) was a pasticcio by Bononcini, Filippo Mattei, and Handel. His opera Camilla (London, 1706), often erroneously attributed to Antonio Mira, helped begin the English fashion for Italian opera. After failing in his operatic ventures Bononcini, charged with plagiarism, left England and spent the rest of his life in obscure wanderings. He composed operas, produced in Venice, from 1748. Another son, Antonio Maria Bononcini, 1677-1726, became musical director to the duke of Modena in 1721. He wrote many operas, most of which were produced in Venice.
Xerse (Xerxes) is an opera in three acts by Giovanni Bononcini. It was designated as a dramma per musica. The libretto was written by Silvio Stampiglia after that by Nicolò Minato which had been used for the 1654 opera of the same name by Francesco Cavalli. Stampiglia's version was in turn used as the basis for Handel's Serse.

Stampiglia's version keeps to the story used by Minato but there are major differences in the way the work as a whole is structured.

Performance history

The opera was first performed in Rome at the Teatro di Tordinona on 25 January 1694.

Main roles

Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 25 January 1694
(Conductor: )
Xerse soprano
Romilda soprano
Adelanta soprano
Arsamene contralto
Amastre contralto


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