Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gratuitous Luca Pisaroni Post – Publio (La Clemenza di Tito)

This little aria from La Clemenza di Tito often is treated as a throwaway. In fact, the whole role of Publio—except for his participation in several significant trios—often seems nearly superfluous. However, Martin Kušej made the most of having handsome, young, bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni in the role.

This is not the school-principal Publio, the Cowardly Lion Publio, the stomping-around-shouting-commands Publio, or even the stand-around-and-be-ready-for-the-trios Publio. This Publio has just as many issues as the rest of this crazy group–maybe more. He may (or may not) have serious intentions towards Tito, Vitelia, and/or Sesto (and possibly any number of named and unnamed characters). 

In many productions Publio seems older than Tito, but here he’s seems to be around the same age, or even slightly younger. (Many bass-baritones who sing this role are indeed older; in real life, LP was only about 26 when this was recorded.) 

Throughout this aria, and the entire opera, I sense that his interest in Tito is more than just an advisor, and loyal assistant. I think he’s jealous of Tito's fondness for Sesto, and in this little throwaway aria, he is basically singing, "You're wonderful and steadfast and trusting, but Sesto is kind of a jerk,” with a subtext of, "I'd be surprisingly good for you." I am known for reading things like this into operas (especially Mozart) but, honestly, don’t you think this Publio has more than just a business interest in Tito?

This is the 2003 Salzburg production that was also part of the M22 series in 2006. See one of my previous Luca posts, and a few at Earwormopera for more discussion regarding the characters in this opera.


  1. LP's Publio totally has more than a business interest in Tito. Poor guy - everyone else is so wrapped up in their massive issues they don't quite register that he's there, even when he's sniffing their hair during trios.

    Someone should do a "Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are dead" sort of thing with La Clemenza di Tito. I imagine Publio being asked to look after Servilia for an afternoon and not enjoying the experience very much.

    1. That hair-sniffing is pretty creepy, isn't it? I like your plot plan. I don't think Servilia would think highly of hanging out with Publio, either. Although if he were LP, Servilia might want to think twice!


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