In prison, Timante’s confidant Adrasto visits him to give him a message from his wife: let him at least save his own life by consenting to marry Creusa. Timante refuses, and Adrasto is helpless (Non odi consiglio?). But Cherinto arrives, bringing a joyful message: The king has been reconciled through the intercession of Creusa! He has already liberated Dircea and accepted her and his grandson Olinto. Timante asks Cherinto to marry Creusa to help his father fulfill his promise. He himself will gladly give up the rights to the throne. Young Cherinto cannot believe his luck (Destar gli affetti miei).
The prince’s joy is suddenly disturbed by Matusio, who brings a letter with a strange revelation: Dircea is not his daughter, but the daughter of King Demofoonte. Timante is husband to his own sister! The prince is devastated by this new sudden blow, and Matusio is confused (Non si dà fra l´umane vicende). The assembled family reaches Timante on the brink of madness.
Nobody understands anything: his father and scorned fiancée have forgiven him, his wife is free, his son is joyfully extending his hands to him; but he cannot even look at him, only speaking grimly about his fate (Misero pargoletto). Demofoonte shares his son’s dark fears (Odo il suono de’ queruli accenti), and Dircea is paralyzed by an unknown terror (Che mai risponderti). Only Creusa sees a glimpse of hope in the future (Non dura una sventura).
But now a joyful denouement arrives. The king has found a second letter that illuminates Timante’s identity. He is not the son of Demofoonte, but of Matusio, and is therefore not Dircea’s brother. The only rightful successor to the throne is Cherinto, who is happy to accept the obligation to marry Creusa. The innocent usurper has finally recognized himself – the prophecy has been fulfilled, and Thrace is freed from the cruel sacrifice (Par maggiore ogni diletto).
Jana Spáčilová – Translation: Bryce Belcher