Vivaldi’s Four Seasons need no introduction, but few are familiar with the Italian Baroque composer’s operatic works (despite his claim to have written as many as 94 during his lifetime!). In 2017, Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso—an exciting musical reinterpretation of episodes from Italian Renaissance poet Ludovico Ariosto’s epic romance of the same name—raged onto the outdoor stage of the 43rd Annual Festival della Valle d’Itria. The spellbinding and radiant production was led to great acclaim by music director Diego Fasolis and stage director Fabio Ceresa.
Every summer, the southeastern Italian town of Martina Franca hosts the Festival della Valle d’Itria, an exciting musical event that seeks to return obscure or rarely performed lyric works to the operatic stage. The 2017 production of Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso continued that enterprising tradition: despite being one of the composer’s better-known operas, it is far from mainstream. The plot concerns the exploits of Orlando, a brave and upstanding knight, who finds himself captured on the magical island of Alcina, an evil sorceress who plays with mortals’ lives for her own amusement.
This cleverly constructed interpretation blends selected Baroque stylistic and performing traditions with a modern aesthetic and a vibrant and sparkling performance on period instruments by Diego Fasolis’s vocal and instrumental ensemble I Barocchisti. Massimo Cecchetto’s simple yet powerful set complemented strong performances by a first-rate cast (led by contralto Sonia Prina as Orlando and mezzo soprano Lucia Cirillo as Alcina). A thrilling operatic experience for music lovers of all stripes!
Photo: Orlando Furioso © Paolo Conserva
With the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
A Concert for Mazarin. With La Fenice, conducted by Jean Tubéry