Picking up the Pieces of Vivaldi’s “Scanderbeg”

Rewind to the evening of June 22, 1718…

Today marks the 300th anniversary of the re-opening of Florence’s Teatro della Pergola (pictured above). Still in use today, Italy’s oldest opera house saw the Italian premieres of most of Mozart’s operas,  Donizetti’s Parisina and Rosmonda d’Inghilterra, Verdi’s Macbeth, and Mascagni’s I Rantzau. Before opening to the public in 1718, the building was used as a court theater of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

The Teatro della Pergola re-opened with Antonio Vivaldi’s three-act opera, Scanderbeg, based on the fifteenth century Albanian military hero. Vivaldi wrote the opera specifically for the occasion. While Antonio Salvi’s libretto remains intact, all that remains of Vivaldi’s music are four arias and two recitatives, discovered among the composer’s manuscripts in Turin.

Here are two excerpts from the opera, included on Vivaldi: Arie ritrovate, a 2008 recording featuring contralto Sonia Prina and Accademia Bizantina. First, we’ll hear S’a voi penso, o luci belle:

The celebratory Con palme ed allori is filled with trumpets and other heroic sounds of the battlefield. Listen for the imitative duet between voice and trumpet:

Recordings

  • Vivaldi: Arie ritrovate, Sonia Prima, Ottavio Dantone, Accademia Bizantina iTunes

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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