La Silvia

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La Silvia (RV 734) is an dramma pastorale per musica in three acts by Antonio Vivaldi to an Italian libretto by Enrico Bissari. It was first performed on 28 August 1721 at the Teatro Regio Ducale in Milan on the occasion of the birthday celebrations of the Austrian Empress Elisabeth Christine, wife of Emperor Charles VI of Austria.

Background[edit]

In 1718 Vivaldi had been nominated maestro di cappella di camera,[1] at the court of Philipp von Hessen-Darmstadt[2] in Mantua for whom he composed Armida al campo d'Egitto, Teuzzone, Scanderbeg (all 1718) and then Tito Manlio (1719) and La Candace (1720).[3] On his return to Venice, following performance of La verità in cimento at the Teatro Sant'Angelo, Vivaldi, thinly disguised as "Aldiviva", became, along with Giovanni Porta, Anna Maria Strada and others, one of the principal targets of the gentleman-composer Benedetto Marcello's satirical pamphlet Il teatro alla moda (written 1718-1719, published 1720).[4][5][6]

Bissari's text had originally been written in 1710 as a play for Princess Teresa Kunegunda Sobieska,[7] second wife of the Bavarian elector Maximillian II Emmanuel.[8] The opera was performed again in Milan in 1723 and 1724.[9] 8 of the arias are preserved in the Biblioteca Nazionale di Torino.

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere cast, 28 August 1721[10][11]
Silvia soprano Margarita Gualandi
Elpino soprano Anna Bombacciari
Tirsi[12] alto castrato Giovanni Battista Minelli
Nerina soprano Anna Maria Strada
Egisto tenor Annibale Pio Fabri
Faustulo bass Giuseppe Montanari

Recordings[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a post similar to that of the German Kapellmeister
  2. ^ b. 20 Jul 1671 - 11 Aug 1736 von Hessen-Darmstadt German Wikipedia entry Italian: Filippo d'Assia-Darmstadt
  3. ^ Cesare Fertonani Antonio Vivaldi: la simbologia musicale nei concerti a programma p.xx
  4. ^ Patrick Barbier La Venecia de Vivaldi: música y fiestas barrocas p167
  5. ^ Matthew Boyden, Nick Kimberley, Joe Staines The rough guide to opera p38
  6. ^ fuller entry in Italian Wikipedia: "Vivaldi composed this work in a period when opera was subject to a profound evolution. In 1720, after having released himself from the duties that had tied him to the "post-Gonzaga" court in Mantua, where he had been active for over a year as the he returned to his native Venice. There, he became a victim of a conservative faction led by , and was sidelined from the Teatro Sant'Angelo, where his previous works had been performed. It was due to the hostile environment in Venice that Vivaldi decided in 1721 to accept the commission to compose and stage a new opera for Milan." Note however that cast list given in Italian Wikipedia appears different.
  7. ^ (4 March 1676-10 March 1730)
  8. ^ Reinhard Strohm The operas of Antonio Vivaldi Volume 13, Part 1
  9. ^ Jeroen Koolbergen Vivaldi 1678-1741 1995 p40
  10. ^ Cast list on italianopera.org
  11. ^ Parsons, Charles H., Opera premieres: an index of casts/performers, Edwin Mellen Press, 1993. ISBN 0-88946-414-6
  12. ^ Le magazine de l'opéra baroque. Italianopera.org states inaccurately "Marte"