Lawrence Brownlee (Ilo), Silvia Tro Santafé (Zelmira), Vivica Genaux (Emma), Julius Ahn (Antenore), Patrick Carfizzi (King Polidoro), Matthew Scollin (Leucippo)
The action takes places on the Greek island of Lesbos, governed by Zelmira’s father, the beloved King Palidoro. Prior to Act I, Azor, the King of Mytilene, attempted to overthrow Palidoro, but Zelmira hid him for protection.
Antenore assumes the throne, intent on destroying Zelmira and her family, whom he perceives as threats. Antenore falsely accuses Zelmira of assassinating Azor and of infidelity to her husband, Prince Ilo. Zelmira’s confident, Emma, urges Ilo to leave Lesbos with their son for safety. Leucippo, a general in Antenore’s army, attempts to assassinate Ilo but Zelmira intercepts the dagger. Caught with dagger in hand, she is accused of attempted murder and imprisoned.
Leucippo intercepts a letter Zelmira has written to her husband Prince Ilo. In it, she pleads innocence from the false accusations and suggests that her father, King Palidoro, is hidden in a safe location. Antenore releases Zelmira, but tricks her into revealing King Palidoro’s hiding place. Palidoro emerges and reassures Prince Ilo that Zelmira is faithful and innocent. But Antenore’s campaign to destroy Zelmira continues when he seizes Zelmira and Palidoro to be executed. As he draws his dagger to slay Palidoro, Zelmira steps in front to receive the dagger herself. Prince Ilo and his soldiers storm the prison to rescue Zelmira and Polidoro. They place Antenore and Leucippo in chains. Finally, Zelmira is reunited with her family.