La forza del destino (The Force of Fate), premiered in St. Petersburg 1862, is one of Verdi’s most important opera compositions. Its plot is complicated and combines a sequence of interlaced unfortunate strokes of fate. Donna Leonora is the centre of events, together with her brother Don Carlo di Vargas and her lover Don Alvaro. The story was originally set in 18th century Spain, however the French director Nicolas Joël established the action in a slightly later period, in the time of the Empire, the early 19th century.
Didone abbandonata was one of the greatest successes in the rather brief operatic career of Leonardo Vinci, a musician who had an adventurous life about which we still know very little. Written for Rome’s Teatro delle Dame, the opera was premiered during the 1726 Carnival season and marked the first collaboration between Vinci and Pietro Metastasio, a teamwork destined to produce abundant fruits, for in the four following years Metastasio would write as many as five new librettos for Vinci. It was immediately very successful, as was the Florentine production here presented, which was the first modern performance of Didone abbandonata, finally reviving one of the great masterpieces of early 18th-century opera. This production was recorded live at Teatro di Firenze and features a cast of Baroque specialists including Roberta Mameli, Carlo Allemano, and Raffaele Pe.
Il Farnace is the most re-written and re-proposed of Vivaldi’s operas, it’s like a beloved child who worries his father, and to whom the parent always wants to give the best. Versions of Farnace, two in 1727 and one each in 1730, 1731 and 1732, had been conceived and adapted to the different circumstances for Venice, Prague, Pavia and Mantua, always with a cast to Vivaldi’s satisfaction and with the composer in control of the production.