• Henry Purcell
  • Dioclesian (Complete Music)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)


  • 2301/0200/str
  • SATB
  • Alto, Bass, Soprano, Tenor
  • 1 hr 20 min

Programme Note


Delphia prophesies that Diocles, a soldier in the Roman army, will become emperor after slaying a great boar and then marry Delphia’s niece, Drusilla. At first, Diocles misunderstands the prophecy and goes hunting swine with his nephew Maximinian, but when he hears that a reward has been offered for the head of Volutius Aper, who has slain emperor Numerianus, he realises that his true task is to capture Aper (whose name means ‘boar’). In reward, Diocles is crowned as Emperor Dioclesian, and is also offered the hand of Numerianus’ sister, Aurelia. Angry that Dioclesian has gone back on his promise to marry Drusilla, Delphia calls up a monstrous vision, helps the Persian army inflict defeat on Dioclesian’s army and casts a spell ensuring that Aurelia transfers her love from Dioclesian to Maximinian. When Aurelia, her brother Charinus and Maximinian have all been taken prisoner by the Persians, Dioclesian realises that his infidelity to Drusilla has caused all his problems, and repents: he hands over both the empire and Aurelia to Maximinian and retires to the country with Drusilla.