Degree Name

DM, Doctor of Music

Degree Type

Treatise - Open Access


College of Music

Advisory Committee

Committee Chair - Douglas Fisher

Committee Member - Matthew Lata

Committee Member - Stanford Olsen

Outside Committee Member - Raymond Fleming


Winter 1-25-2005


The purpose of this project is to investigate the influence of eighteenth-century political life on Pietro Metastasio and his writing. This treatise will address questions like: What were the reforms Metastasio made in the structure of opera libretti? How did Metastasio’s philosophical bent affect his writing? To what extent are Metastasio’s libretti veiled propaganda written to aid Charles VI in his political endeavors? This paper will explore possible answers to these question through a close investigation of Metastasio’s libretto, La clemenza di Tito.

The opening chapter gives a short biographical overview of Metastasio’s life. Chapter II deals with the various influences on Metastasio’s literary philosophy. In Chapter III the plot of La clemenza di Tito is analyzed in the context of contemporary issues and events surrounding the composition of the original libretto in 1734. An attempt is made to understand the drama from the perspective of its intended audience, Charles VI and the Viennese social elite.

By examining the work in this way, subtle and perhaps hidden meanings are revealed that would not otherwise be apparent to a modern audience. An understanding of this libretto, and its meaning in the context of contemporary politics, informs our understanding of Metastasio’s role in Viennese court life, and in a broader sense, his role in eighteenth-century European culture.


Open Access

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