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La clemenza di Tito
Teatro Regio, Friday 16 May 2008 - Sunday 25 May 2008
The scene is set in Rome.
Vitellia, daughter of the deposed emperor Vitellius, wants Sextus, who is in love with her, to avenge her by killing Emperor Titus Vespasian, the emperor who usurped the throne and seduced her. Annius announces that the wedding of Titus and Berenice has been cancelled, and Vitellia tells Sextus to postpone the murder. Sextus grants Annius the hand of his sister Servilia, but Titus tells Sextus that he himself intends to marry her. Annius has no choice but to tell his beloved that she has been chosen by the emperor as his bride. Servilia, however, will not yield, and she opens her heart to Titus, confessing her love for Annius. Titus commends her for her sincerity, and promises her that she can marry the man she loves. Vitellia continues to scheme, and convinces Sextus to carry out the crime. As soon as Sextus goes out, Publius, Prefect of the Paetorian Guard, informs Vitellia that the emperor has decided to marry her. Desperate, she attempts in vain to stop Sextus, but it is too late, as the conspiracy has already been carried out: the Capitol is in flames and Titus has been killed.
In reality, Titus is safe because Sextus stabbed Lenturo, whom he mistook for the emperor. Sextus confesses his guilt to Annius, but Annius tells him to say nothing and be loyal to the emperor. The plot has been discovered, and Publius arrests Sextus. At this point, Vitellia fears being discovered. Sextus is condemned by the Senate “to the wild beasts”. Annius asks Titus to forgive Sextus, but the emperor is undecided. He summons Sextus and asks in vain for an explanation, but Sextus keeps silent in order to protect Vitellia. Titus decides to forgive him because he prefers to be accused “of compassion, not severity”. Servilia asks Vitellia to intercede for her brother. She decides to confess her guilt to save Sextus. In the arena, Sextus and his accomplices are about to be thrown to the wild beasts. Vitellia kneels before Titus and admits that she was the instigator of the plot. The Emperor demonstrates his clemency by forgiving them all.