I Viaggi di Faustina is part of a series from Spain's Glossa label, with each album examining the legacy of a singer from the 18th century, re-creating the repertory sung and even the sound of the voice insofar as such a thing is possible. The title I Viaggi di Faustina refers to Faustina Bordoni, the Neapolitan singer who became famous for her onstage brawl with her rival Francesca Cuzzoni, shrewdly egged on by Handel's promoters in London. But her career was centered on Naples, where she married German-born composer Johann Adolf Hasse; the "viaggi" here are trips both to and from Naples, and the music consists of excerpts from operas she is known to have sung.
“Orlando finto pazzo ('Orlando feigns madness') was the second of Vivaldi's numerous operas, and his first for the Venetian stage. The story of Orlando's madness is taken not from the usual source, Ariosto's poem Orlando furioso, but Boiardo's earlier Orlando innamorato, a similarly tragicomic mix of love, intrigue and magic. In Ariosto's poem Orlando's madness is real, but here he pretends it for no obvious reason; in fact it's no more than a couple of episodes in a convoluted and unengaging plot built around a lovepentangle (no less), and further complicated by various disguises and rampant dissembling. As it happens, Vivaldi doesn't on this evidence appear to have been a natural musical dramatist. Yet what makes this music worth hearing is his evident desire to make an operatic splash at his first major attempt: there's music of irrepressible zest and personality; this early attempt deploys all the fiery and ebullient energy of his concertos and allies it to vocal music of neck-tingling excitement. Like Haydn, Vivaldi may not have been a great opera composer, but he did write operas full of great music. Alessandro de Marchi's joyous recording brings together a typical Italian Baroque cast for a performance and recording of skill and enthusiasm.” (The Gramophone)