Ruxandra Donose © Nikolaus Karlinsky

Dramma per musica in drei Akten (1727)

Music by Antonio Vivaldi

Libretto by Grazia Braccioli based on the poem by Ludovico Ariosto

Opera in concert in Italian

Tuesday, 26 March 2019, 7 pm until 10.05 pm (Intermission: 8.30 pm)

Content / Background

Antonio Vivaldi’s first musical adaptation of the epic poem Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto, published in 1516, was an opera called Orlando finto pazzo, which premiered in 1714 at the Teatro Sant’ Angelo in Venice a short time after Vivaldi had become director there. It was the continuation of Orlando furioso by his colleague Giovanni Alberto Ristori, but brought Vivaldi no success. In December 1727, the programme again featured an adaptation by Vivaldi of the same work. It appears that Orlando furioso was a late addition to the programme, since the autograph score, parts of which still exist, bears all the hallmarks of great haste: there was not even time for the customary dedication. However, he expanded the orchestra by adding a flauto traverso and two trumpets. The plot stayed almost exactly the same as that of Ristori’s successful 1713 Orlando furioso because Vivaldi used the same source, namely the libretto by Grazio Braccioli. On Alcina’s enchanted island, various romantic entanglements are played out. Angelica asks the sorceress Alcina to use her magic powers to bring her together with her beloved Medoro. Alcina is happy to oblige — after all, it serves her own amorous intentions. But when Orlando learns of the wedding of his beloved Angelica and Medoro he loses his mind. In his madness he destroys a statue of Merlin the magician, thereby unintentionally robbing Alcina of her magic powers. He realises that true love is also possible by renouncing infatuation. Vivaldi wrote the role of the eponymous hero, still a bass part in 1713, especially for the Venetian singer Lucia Lancetti and once again proved his capabilities as a born “musical storyteller” He also transposed the singing roles of Astolfo, Bradamante and Medoro to the registers of the singers available at the time. Especially in the scenes portraying Orlando’s increasing mental derangement Vivaldi used the conventional structure of Baroque dramma per musica — the alternation of recitative and da capo aria — for the purposes of psychological characterisation



George Petrou


Max Emanuel Cencic


Julia Lezhneva


Ruxandra Donose


Anna Starushkevych


Philipp Mathmann


David DQ Lee


Pavel Kudinov


Armonia Atenea