Saturday, 13 September 2014

Vivaldi's Griselda

Story of Griselda in the Spalliera panels from Siena, c1490
Story of Griselda in the Spalliera panels from Siena, c1490
Vivaldi's operas are slowly making a come back. His opera Griselda was premiered in Venice in 1735, and is loosely based on the story from Boccaccio's Decameron. Vivaldi's libretto was originally written in 1701 and was updated by the playwright Carlo Goldoni. Goldoni would go on to write an important sequence of operatic comedies with the composer Galuppi. Griselda was first performed in the UK at the Buxton Festival in 1983 and has hardly been seen since. Santa Fe Opera performed the work in 2011. Now a new opera company, Opera Settecento, is giving Griselda in concert at the Cadogan Hall on 18 September 2014.

As its name implies Opera Settecento specialises in baroque opera, and was set up to cast young singers alongside more established names. The musical director is Thomas Foster, with Miranda Jackson as artistic director. Griselda has a strong cast with Hilary Summers in the title role, plus Andrew Watts, Erica Eloff, Ronan Busfield, Kiandra Howarth and Tom Verney. The title role was written for a protege of Vivaldi's whose acting was more inspiring than her singing, and it is the other roles who have the spectacular arias. In fact the role of Ottone (sung her by Erica Eloff) was so complex that Vivaldi simplified one of the arias. For this production, Foster is using a new critical edition which means we get to hear all the complex arias.

Further information from the Cadogan Hall website.

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