"Considering the small number of solo concertos for the bassoon from the baroque period the number of Vivaldi's compositions for this instrument is remarkable. With 39 concertos for one bassoon this part of his oeuvre is the second largest of his instrumental output, after the concertos for violin. That is all the more notable as there is no conclusive evidence that this instrument was played at the Ospedale della Pietà. Vivaldi wrote the largest part of his instrumental works for the girls of this institution…"
…Mullova and Carmignola provide one of the most consummate displays of period instrument playing that I have heard. True masters of their instruments.
"Italian conductor and musicologist Alberto Zedda is widely recognized as one of the world's most prominent authorities on the operas of Gioachino Rossini. (…) Although his work on behalf of Rossini remains widely appreciated, Zedda's handling of early opera composers has drawn criticism, particularly as he eschews period instruments and prefers to devise modern orchestrations for seventeenth century operas.
The Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra (SSCO) is based in Sofia, Bulgaria. The ensemble was established in 1962 by a group of young musicians who played with the Sofia National Opera. Their first concert conducted by Michail Angelov was well-received, and shortly afterward they began a schedule of concerts and international tours.
In 2014 the ensemble has completed more than 3000 concerts and have won awards from international music festivals in Germany, France, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Belgium and Norway. Their performances are widely available as recordings
There is no complete surviving score for Vivaldi's Ercole su'l Termodonte, but there is enough existing material that modern scholars have been able to reconstruct it primarily by making new settings of the lost recitatives. The first production of the opera since Vivaldi's time was at Spoleto in 2006 in a version by Alessandro Ciccolini, which was released as a DVD. Conductor Fabio Biondi made a version introduced in Venice in 2007, which is recorded on this 2010 Virgin CD. Biondi's recording has the advantage of two international superstars in the leading roles, tenor Rolando Villazón and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and soprano Diana Damrau is nearly in their league. Villazón's earthy voice is usually associated with 19th century and verismo Italian repertoire, but he has an acute sensitivity to Baroque vocal style, and his robust, almost baritonal tenor is entirely appropriate for a larger-than-life character like Hercules. DiDonato excels as Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, singing with her characteristic brilliance and warm humanity.