Archives for posts with tag: Andrew Watts

‘He did it here, he did it here, he did right here!’. Such were Vivaldi’s cries as Goldoni rose to the challenge thrown at him by the composer to rearrange an aria in Zeno’s libretto of Griselda to better suit the talents of Vivaldi’s protégé, Anna Girò. As recorded in Goldoni’s earliest account of meeting the Red Priest, despite receiving a frosty reception from the composer, the young poet impressed Vivaldi enough with this improvised feat to allow him to ‘murder Zeno’s drama’.

Written for the Teatro San Samuele in Venice and first performed in 1735, Zeno’s libretto, adapted by Goldoni, is based on an episode from Boccaccio’s Decameron which tells the story of the sadistic Marquis of Saluzzo who decides to put his wife’s fidelity to the test as his people are unhappy that he’s married a commoner. Somehow I don’t think we’ll get a reality series out of this from our royals. Read the rest of this entry »

rsz_eno_xerxes_-_alice_coote_1_c_mike_hobanI began this review thinking comparisons with those who have previously sung these roles in Nicholas Hytner’s extraordinary 1985 production of Xerxes should probably be avoided, but, wouldn’t you know, my fellow critics across the broadsheets and internet have leapt into this muddy pit with gusto. I feel transported back to a typical 18th century theatre where those in the more expensive boxes of the third tier would throw pasta onto the heads of the poor souls in the “pit”, while the rival supporters of the castrati challenge each other in the streets surrounding what is now Trafalgar Square.

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