Max Emanuel Cencic © Anna Hoffmann

Drama per musica in drei Akten (1727)

Music by Leonardo Vinci

Libretto based on Francesco Brianis´ il Vincitor Generoso

Opera in concert in Italian

Tuesday, 25 September 2018, 7 pm until 10 pm (Intermission: 8.30 pm)

Content / Background

In the first third of the 18th century Leonardo Vinci was one of the most famous opera composers. Together with his friend, the librettist Pietro Metastasio who went on to be the Habsburgs’ court poet, he was instrumental in giving Baroque opera its form: the sequence of da capo arias and recitatives became obligatory. Vinci’s sensitive settings of Metastasio’s melodious verses set a new standard in the combination of music and words. Even Handel held Vinci in high regard and adapted his arias as pasticcios for his London audience. In 1730, Vinci died under unexplained circumstances. Rumour has it that he was poisoned. With his death, his influence on the history of opera also ended, and his dazzling works with their virtuoso stand-out numbers for the prima donnas and star castrati of the day were, until recently, forgotten. Following the concert performance of Artarserse at the Theater an der Wien (2012) and the staged production of the Vinci/Handel pasticcio Semiramide at the Kammeroper (2013), we now present another rediscovered work from Vinci’s œuvre as a concert performance: Gismondo, king of Poland, is having trouble with the rebellious prince of Lithuania, Primislao, but would prefer to have peace because his lands are ravaged by war. His political problems are compounded by private ones: on the one hand, his son Ottone is in love with Cunegonda, Primislao’s daughter, and Giuditta, Gismondo’s daughter, falls for the attractive Primislao himself. While reasons of state prohibit amorous liaisons with the enemy, Gismondo realises that they could serve his desire for peace. So what should he do? Torn between politics and love, the characters search for peace, both in their hearts and for their countries. The end promises reconciliation: after all, the title of the original work was Il vincitor generoso — the generous victor. Vinci used several numbers from his own opera L’Ernelinda, a widespread practice at the time. He experimented with the instrumentation: flutes and horns accompany an aria about a lovesick nightingale, and two bassoons provide the melancholy, yearning mood for Ottone’s “Vuoi ch’io moro?”



Martyna Pastuszka

Maestro of cembalo

Marcin Świątkiewicz


Max Emanuel Cencic


Yuriy Mynenko


Sophie Junker


Aleksandra Kubas-Kruk


Jake Arditti


Dilyara Idrisova


Nicholas Tamagna


{oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna