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Vivaldi’s music for L’Oracolo in Messenia is lost, both for his hastily assembled 1737 Venice production and for the revised 1742 Vienna production, which took place several months after his death (only Zeno’s popular 1711 libretto survives). This L’Oracolo is Fabio Biondi’s artful reconstruction of the Vienna version, based on his assumption that Vivaldi’s score was a pasticcio and, rather less plausibly, that it drew heavily on Giacomelli’s hit 1734 opera, La Merope. So Biondi has taken his recitatives and half of his arias from Giacomelli, plus an aria apiece from Broschi and Hasse, and the remainder from earlier Vivaldi operas, which means there is nothing ‘new’ here by Vivaldi. That said, the music is often enthralling, with several spectacular showpiece arias (though regrettably few tender moments), and both the playing and singing (by a stellar cast) crackle with energy. This L’Oracolo succeeds splendidly on record, though whether the credit belongs to Biondi, Giacomelli or Vivaldi is a moot point.

Graham Lock Read the full review on Agora Classica


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