This production was recorded at the Teatro Malibran of La Fenice in Venice in occasion of the celebrations for the 3rd centenary of Galuppi’s birth. This is the first performance in modern times, and a World Premiere recording on DVD. The Orchestra Barocca di Venezia, conducted by baroque expert Andrea Marcon plays on original instruments from the 18th century. Olimpiade, was written for the opening of the carnival season of Milan’s Teatro Ducale on December 26, 1747… (http://www.arkivmusic.com)
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest") because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, Catholic priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over forty operas. His best known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (15 May 1567 (baptized) – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, gambist, singer and Roman Catholic priest.
Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition – the heritage of Renaissance polyphony and the new basso continuo technique of the Baroque. Monteverdi wrote one of the earliest operas, L'Orfeo, an innovative work that is the earliest surviving opera that is still regularly performed. He was recognized as an innovative composer and enjoyed considerable fame in his lifetime.
"Despite the public context – the story is played out against the backdrop of the Olympic Games – this is a drama which focuses on the personal predicaments of the principal characters, each of whom faces an interesting conflict between head and heart somewhere along the line. This is more apparent from Metastasio's words than from Vivaldi's music, to be honest, but that isn't to say that the composer has been unresponsive. The most effective and intimate moments occur in the recitatives, which are fluidly conversational and full of realistic interruptions, questions and exclamations, all of which Vivaldi handles with considerable dramatic skill. Rinaldo Alessandrini's direction is typically unfussy and to the point, ever alert to the music's dramatic intent but without imposing himself on it unduly. The finest vocal performances come from Sara Mingardo, Roberta Invernizzi and Sonia Prina, but in truth no one is a weak link. The recitatives are effectively done, the arias thrown off with dash and aplomb, and everyone sounds as if they believe in the work.” (The Gramophone)
Naive’s Vivaldi Edition is proud to present the 15th opera, and the 50th release, in the acclaimed series. Conducted by one of the masters of baroque opera, Alan Curtis, and gathering an impressive, vocal cast from the top echelons of Baroque singing 'Catone in Utica' is one of the Venetian master’s great, late operas. Composed four years before his death and premiered at Verona in the spring of 1737, 'Catone' inaugurated Vivaldi's third and last opera season. The Red Priest's farewell to the Teatro dell’Accademia Filarmonica was to resemble the crowning piece of a fire-works display.
Mezzo Magdalena Kožená returns with another early music adventure on Archiv Production after her highly acclaimed Vivaldi album: Kožená explores the early Italian Baroque music of Claudio Monteverdi with rewarding results. Inspired by the improvisational nature of much of this music, Kožená reveals yet another aspect of her musical personality with selections from L’incoronazione di Poppea, Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and more.
With Olimpiade the famous poet Metastasio created one of the most popular librettos of the 18th century. It was set to music by over 60 baroque and classical composers including Vivaldi, Caldara, Hasse, Cimarosa and Donizetti. Pergolesi’s composition from 1735 was one of the earliest adaptations…
We owe the rediscovery of Pergolesi's 1735 opera about the Olympics not so much to the build-up to next year's games in London, but to the composer's tercentenary in 2010. It's a long work (four hours), and even by 18th-century standards, its narrative is convoluted. The athlete Magacle is competing – and cheating – in the games to win, on behalf of his friend Licida, the hand of Aristea, which her idiotic father has promised to the victor. Megacle has fallen in love with Aristea himself, however, and things are further complicated by the arrival of Licida's cast-off mistress Argene, and by the revelation that Licida is actually Aristea's long-lost twin brother…