Orlando furioso (Vivaldi)

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Work data
Title: The raging Roland
Original title: Orlando [furioso]
Title page of the libretto, Venice 1727

Title page of the libretto, Venice 1727

Shape: Opera seria in three acts
Original language: Italian
Music: Antonio Vivaldi
Libretto : Grazio Braccioli
Literary source: The raging Roland by Ludovico Ariosto
Premiere: November 10, 1727
Place of premiere: Teatro Sant'Angelo , Venice
Playing time: approx. 3 ½ hours
Place and time of the action: Alcina's magic island

Voices of the premiere in 1727

  • Orlando, in love with Angelica ( old )
  • Angelica, lover, then wife Medoros ( soprano )
  • Alcina, sorceress, in love with Ruggiero (Alt)
  • Bradamante, fiancée Ruggieros, then disguised as a man under the name Aldarico (Alt)
  • Medoro, lover, then husband Angelicas (old castrato )
  • Ruggiero, fiancé Bradamante (Altkastrat)
  • Astolfo, in love with Alcina ( bass )
  • Aronte, warrior (silent role)
  • Country people, warriors Logistillas ( choir , extras)

Orlando furioso (original title: Orlando , RV 728) is an opera seria (original name: "dramma per musica") in three acts by Antonio Vivaldi ( music ) with a libretto by Grazio Braccioli . It is a new version of the Orlando furioso by Vivaldi / Ristori (1714) and was first performed on November 10, 1727 in the Teatro Sant'Angelo in Venice.


Characters and literary background

All the characters and most of the plot elements based on the template Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto . This was widespread in the 18th century and could be assumed to be known by the public. The main plot there is a war between the Franks under Emperor Charlemagne and their Christian allies on the one hand and the united pagan (Muslim) troops from Saracens and various African peoples on the other. The conflict between Christians and pagans only plays a subliminal role in Vivaldi's opera.

A heroic count and the most important paladin in the service of Emperor Charlemagne. However, he fails because of his unrequited love for Angelica as a fighter. When Angelica falls in love with the simple pagan warrior Medoro, he goes mad. This episode gave the whole work its title The mad Roland. His friend Astolfo later finds the mind on the moon and brings it back.
The Princess of Cathay (China). She is considered the most beautiful woman in the world, and countless knights fall in love with her. She is constantly on the run from her admirers and especially from Orlando. Eventually she falls in love with the pagan soldier Medoro, whom she nurses to health after being wounded.
An evil, loving sorceress who transforms her men into animals or plants. This character is modeled after the Circe from Homer's Odyssey . In the opera she initially had a relationship with Astolfo, but then fell in love with Orlando, Ruggiero and Bradamante, disguised as a man.
The heroic and battle-hardened Countess of Marseille. She enters into a relationship with the pagan knight Ruggiero, whom she later marries.
A simple African soldier who falls in love with Angelica.
A heroic pagan knight and lover (later husband) Bradamante who eventually converts to Christianity. The two are the ancestors of the noble family of the Este - a tribute to Ariostus to his patron Ercole I. d'Este .
An English prince, the son of King Otto.
A fairy godmother and sister of Alcinas.
Another fairy godmother, the protector of Ruggieros and Bradamantes.
The hippogryph
A winged horse with the head and front legs of an eagle. It originally belonged to the magician Atlas and then passed into the possession of Astolfo.

short version

Bradamante and Angelica arrive on the island of the sorceress Alcina. Orlando is in love with Angelica, but since she loves Medoro, she asks Alcina for help. Alcina promises to bring the two lovers back together with her magic power, and by the way wants to win over Ruggiero, Bradamante's lover, as a lover by magic. Bradamante finally knows how to break Alcina's magic. Orlando's attempts to counter Alcina's forces initially fail: when he learns of Angelica and Medoro's wedding, he goes mad. In his confusion, he destroys a statue of the wizard Merlin, inadvertently breaking Alcina's power. He realizes that true love can only be achieved if one renounces the delirium.

first act

Courtyard in the Alcinas Palace

Scene 1. Angelica and her lover Medoro have fled from their stubborn admirer Orlando. The two were separated. Angelica has ended up on the magic island of Alcinas and complains of her suffering. Alcina tries in vain to comfort her (Aria Angelica: “Un raggio di speme”). Angelica withdraws.

Scene 2. Orlando has also reached the island, where he first meets Alcina's lover, Astolfo. Since Astolfo does not recognize him at first because of his closed visor, he attacks him, but quickly realizes his mistake. Alcina immediately tries to win the famous fighter Orlando for herself in order to get a comrade against her sister Logistilla. Although Orlando points out his association with Angelica, Astolfo becomes jealous. Alcina says goodbye with an aria in which she expresses her admiration for Orlando (Aria Alcina: "Alza in quegl'occhi").

Scene 3. Orlando tries again to calm Astolfo: he saw real love for him in Alcina's eyes. But Astolfo doesn't believe him. He tells Orlando that Alcinas is invincible because her magical power comes from the urn containing the ashes of the magician Merlin. In the end she didn't even look at him with her “cruel eyes” (Aria Astolfo: “Costanza tu m'insegni”). Astolfo is leaving.

Scene 4. Bradamante is looking for her fiancé Ruggiero. The wise sorceress Melissa had prophesied that Ruggiero would succumb to Alcina's love arts on this island. To break their power, she gave Bradamante a magic ring. Bradamante first appears disguised as a man and tells Orlando her story (aria Bradamante: "Asconderò il mio sdegno").

Scene 5. Orlando remembers a prophecy that he would find happiness in love if he stole the urn with Merlin's ashes from Alcina (Aria Orlando: “Nel profondo cieco mondo”).

Lovely garden with two fountains, one of which extinguishes love, the other kindles it; stormy sea in the distance

Scene 6. Angelica watches her lover Medoro, seriously injured, wash ashore in a small boat. She calls for help.

Scene 7. Alcina appears and heals Medoro with her magic. Medoro tells Angelica that he received the ship from Logistilla. The ship was attacked, however, and he himself was wounded and captured. Then they threw him into the sea to appease the wrath of Neptune.

Scene 8. Orlando appears suddenly, discovers his rival Medoro at Angelica's and threatens him. Alcina tries to defuse the situation by impersonating Medoro as Angelica's brother. Angelica, for her part, assures Orlando of her love, whispering to the jealous Medoro that she is merely faking this (Aria Angelica: "Tu sei degl'occhi miei").

Scene 9. After Angelica leaves, Orlando apologizes to Medoro (Aria Orlando: "Troppo è fiero, il nume arciero") and also withdraws.

Scene 10. Medoro isn't convinced that Angelica was just acting out her declaration of love for Orlando. Alcina thinks that true love can endure suffering in silence. Medoro explains that he now wants to take Angelica's instability as an example (Aria Medoro: “Se tacendo, se soffrendo”). He goes off.

Scene 11. Bradamante's fiancé Ruggiero has now also found his way to the island. Alcina falls in love with him on the spot and gives him water to drink from the magic well, whereupon he falls for her and forgets Bradamante.

Scene 12. Bradamante finds Ruggiero too late. He's already completely addicted to Alcina and doesn't even recognize his fiancée, who has since taken off her disguise. Bradamante now calls herself Olimpia and claims that Ruggiero is her unfaithful lover Bireno. Ruggiero disagrees, as he still knows his own name. He sings about his love for Alcina and leaves (Aria Ruggiero: “Sol per te mio dolce amore”).

Scene 13. Alcina assures Bradamante that her lover is not Bireno. Bradamante pretends not to believe her and follows Ruggiero. Alcina triumphs because she is sure of his love (Aria Alcina: "Amorose ai rai del sole").

Second act

Pleasure woods with hidden resting places

Scene 1. Alcina rejects Astolfo's oaths of love: A single lover could never satisfy her (Aria Alcina: “Vorresti amor da me?”).

Scene 2. Astolfo complains to Bradamante of his suffering. Since Alcina has also enchanted Bradamante's fiancé Ruggiero, they decide to take revenge on her together (Aria Astolfo: “Benché nasconda la serpe in seno”).

Scene 3. Bradamante gives Ruggiero the magic ring that Melissa received. Alcina's charm fades and he recognizes his fiancée. Bradamante tells him to go to Alcina to try it out with the ring and see her beauty. If he should fall for her again, she will forgive him (Arie Bradamante: "Taci non ti lagnar").

Scene 4. Ruggiero feels guilty about betraying Bradamante. Orlando comforts him with a comparison with the stormy sea, which also calms down again (Aria Orlando: "Sorge l'irato nembo").

Mountainous area with a high, steep rock face

Scene 5. Angelica asks Medoro to trust her as she wants to solve the problems with Orlando herself. Medoro wants to believe her, but fears that his jealousy will stir again if she leaves him alone (Aria Medoro: "Qual candido fiore").

Scene 6. Angelica tries to lure Orlando into a deadly trap in order to get rid of him for good. To do this, she fakes her love for him (Aria Angelica: "Chiara al pari di lucida stella") and demands a proof of love from him: He should climb the rock conjured up by Alcina to fetch her the water that Medea once brought to youth Jason's restored. Although she points out to him that it is guarded by a terrible monster, Orlando wants to go immediately.

Scene 7. The arriving Astolfo warns Orlando in vain not to embark on the adventure.

Scene 8. Orlando climbs the rock under observation by Angelica.

The rock wall falls and turns into a terrifying cave with no exit

Scene 9. Once in the cave, Orlando challenges the monster. A voice from inside calls out to him that he is Alcina's prisoner, and Orlando notices that the cave is locked. But with the use of his heroism he manages to free himself. He vows to destroy Alcina's realm.

Scene 10. Ruggiero has meanwhile passed his test and, looking at Alcina, recognized her true form. But Bradamante is not yet satisfied. She demands vengeance. Ruggiero suggests that she stab him personally - at least that way he could die in her arms (Arie Ruggiero: “Che bel morirti in sen”). This is the final proof of his healing. Bradamante celebrates (Aria Bradamante: "Se cresce un torrente").

Land at the foot of a hill with a few groups of trees; in their shadow crockery and the wedding goblet of Angelica and Medoro

Scene 11. Angelica and Medoro marry to the joyful chants of the choir (choir: “Al fragor de 'corni audaci”) and with Alcina's blessing. Both drink from the wedding goblet. Alcina envies the two of them for their mutual love, which she herself will probably never experience in this form (Aria Alcina: “Così potessi anch'io”).

Scene 12. Angelica and Medoro scratch their confessions of love into the bark of the surrounding trees (Duet Angelica / Medoro: “Sei mia fiamma, e sei mio bene”).

Scene 13. Orlando watches the couple leave. He finds the inscriptions in the trees, goes mad out of desperation and rips off armor and clothes (Aria Orlando: “Ho cento vanni al piede”).

Third act

Forecourt to the temple of the underworld goddess Hecate, closed off by a steel wall

Scene 1. Ruggiero and Astolfo are convinced that Orlando is dead. They decide to take revenge on Alcina. Astolfo believes that the sorceress Melissa could help them break through the steel wall (Aria Astolfo: "Dove il valor combatte"). He goes off to find her.

Scene 2. Bradamante joins them, again in men's clothes. She points out that the urn with the ashes of Merlin is in the temple, which gives Alcina her power and insists on carrying out the decisive blow against Alcina herself. Everyone hides when they hear Alcina approaching.

Scene 3. Alcina has gone to the temple to implore divine support against Amor, the god of love, who treats her unfairly, and to find out where Ruggiero is (Aria Alcina: "L'arco vuò frangerti"). To gain access, she first utters some unsuccessful threats against the gods of the underworld and then calls on the spirit of Merlin.

The steel wall breaks in two and opens the Temple of Hecate with the statue of the magician Merlin, leaning against an urn with his ashes, guarded by the invulnerable Aronte with a club; the interior is closed by iron balustrades; on one side of the altar of Hecate

Ruggiero and Bradamante emerge from their hiding place. Alcina is delighted to have found her lover again. Bradamante introduces herself as Aldarico and claims that her sister was seduced and abandoned by Ruggiero. They were looking for him to avenge this disgrace.

Scene 4. Now Orlando appears too. To the horror of those present, he doesn't seem to recognize anyone anymore, talks confused things and starts to dance.

Scene 5. Angelica arrives last. Orlando doesn't recognize her either, but blames her. Angelica assures that she has always had compassion for him, but her feelings are innocent (Aria Angelica: "Poveri affetti miei, siete innocenti"). She goes.

Scene 6. Orlando sees himself in his madness surrounded by monsters that he wants to kill (Aria Orlando: “Gli seguirò, gli atterrerò”). He disappears into the temple. Alcina has now fallen in love with the supposed Aldarico (Bradamante). She sends him away to look for a “greener place” and wait for her there. Bradamante is reluctant to leave because she doesn't want to leave Ruggiero with Alcina (Aria Bradamante: “Io son ne 'lacci tuoi”). Alcina looks after her admiringly (Aria Alcina: “Non è felice un'alma”) and then leaves too.

Scene 7. Ruggiero, who is left alone, ponders his honor and love for Bradamante when Medoro appears and asks him about his relationship with Alcina. Medoro accuses him of inconstancy, but Ruggiero thinks it is right to end a dishonest love.

Scene 8. The dispute between Medoro and Ruggiero escalates and they both pick up their swords. Only Angelica's intervention prevents worse. Nevertheless, Ruggiero blames her for Orlando's madness (Arie Ruggiero: “Come l'onda con voragine orrenda, e profonda”). He goes.

Scene 9. Angelica assures Medoro that he has no reason to be jealous. Nevertheless, he is not completely reassured (Aria Medoro: "Vorrebbe amando il cor"). Both withdraw.

Scene 10. Orlando in his madness (Aria Orlando: "Scendi nel tartaro") holds the statue of Merlin for Angelica and attacks the guard Aronte. With his heroic powers he actually succeeds in defeating it and seizing the statue. With that, Alcina's magical power disappears and the scene is transformed. Orlando goes to sleep.

The island is now desolate and rugged; Orlando's weapons hang in one of the trees

Scene 11. Alcina is in despair after losing her power. When she sees Orlando sleeping, the cause of her suffering, she sees a possibility of revenge, but is stopped by Ruggiero and Bradamante. The two explain to her that Ruggiero is no longer subject to her magic and that the alleged Aldarico is in fact her enemy Bradamante.

Scene 12. Angelica and Medoro try to escape from the island, but are also prevented by Bradamante, who sees Angelica as the cause of Orlando's madness.

Scene 13. Astolfo, who is already missing from the others, appears with Logistilla's soldiers. He informs those present that his winged horse (the hippogryph ) carried him through the sky to the place where the eternal fire burns. There a voice told him to take a torch with the "lost light of Orlando's mind". Orlando wakes up and actually regains his sanity at the sight of the torch. At this moment Alcina feels the loss of her power particularly strongly. She decides to seek help from the Furies of Hell for her revenge (Aria Alcina: “Anderò, chiamerò dal profondo”). Orlando, on the other hand, is also cured of his mad love for Angelica. He wishes you and Medoro peace and everlasting love. The final choir praises the loyalty and persistence of the lovers (choir: “Vien dal cielo in noi l'amore”).


Orchestral line-up

The orchestral line-up for the opera includes the following instruments:

Music numbers

The opera contains the following pieces of music:

first act

  • Scene 1. Recitative: "Bella Regina, il tuo poter sovrano"
    • Aria (Angelica): “Un raggio di speme” - Allegro (E flat major); for strings and basso continuo; see. L'Atenaide RV 702b I: 2; Farnace RV 711d II: 4th
  • Scene 2. Recitative: "Quanta pietà mi desta il suo cordoglio"
    • Aria (Alcina): "Alza in quegl'occhi" - Allegro (A major); for strings and basso continuo; see. L'Atenaide RV 702b III: 14
  • Scene 3. Recitative: "Della bella negl'occhi vidi per te"
    • Aria breve (Astolfo): "Costanza tu m'insegni, e vuoi ch'io speri" - Andante molto (D major); for strings and basso continuo
  • Scene 4. Recitative: "Pietoso Dio d'amor: poiche à te piacque"
    • Aria (Bradamante): "Ascondero il mio sdegno" - Allegro non molto (B flat major); for strings and basso continuo
  • Scene 5. Recitative: "Isolito coraggio orain quest'alma"
    • Recitative (Orlando): "Orlando, allora il ciel per te dispose"
    • Recitative: "Amorose mie brame non più duol, e timor"
    • Aria (Orlando): "Nel profondo cieco mondo" - Allegro (G major); for strings and basso continuo; see. L'Atenaide RV 702b II: 2; La Candace RV 704 II: 11
  • Scene 6. Recitative: "Quando somigli tempesto mare"
  • Scene 7. Recitative: “Alcina. Alcina: ah tal mi rendi "
  • Scene 8. Recitative: "Non godrai semper in pace lieto del tuo gior"
    • Aria (Angelica): “Tu sei degl'occhi miei” - Allegro (C minor); for strings and basso continuo
  • Scene 9. Recitative: "Ahi crudel gelosia tiranna degl'affetti"
    • Aria (Orlando): "Troppo è fiero il nume arciero" - Allegro (G major); for strings and basso continuo; see. L'Atenaide RV 702b I: 11
  • Scene 10. Recitative: "Medoro il ciglio abbassi, e stai dolente?"
    • Aria (Medoro or Alcina): “Rompo i ceppi” -… (B flat major); for strings and basso continuo
  • Scene 11. Recitative: "Innocente Garzon, tu ancor non sai?"
  • Scene 12. Recitative: "Vò cercando Ruggiero, e l'trovo incolto"
    • Aria (Ruggiero): "Sol dà te mio dolce amore" - Largo (C minor) - transverse flute, violins I / II sordini, violin I, viola and bass pizzicati (without harpsichord)
  • Scene 13. Recitative: “Ah 'inumano! Ah crudele! Guarda ben, che t'inganni "
    • Recitative: "Se lo crede bireno ella s'inganna"
    • Aria (Alcina): "Amorose ai rai del sole" - Allegro (E minor); for strings and basso continuo; see. Farnace RV 711dg II: 13

Second act

  • Scene 1. Recitative: "Tant'è l'amor per variar d'oggetto"
    • Aria (Alcina): “Vorresti amor dàme” - Allegro (F major); for strings and basso continuo
  • Scene 2. Recitative: "Per qual donna incostante crudele amor"
    • Aria (Astolfo): “Benche nasconda” -… (E flat major); for strings and basso continuo; see. L'Atenaide RV 702b I: 6; Catone (Handel) RV Anh 80; Ipermestra (Prague 1731) RV Anh 127a.22
  • Scene 3. Recitative: "Qui viene il mio ruggier"
    • Aria breve (Bradamante): "Taci non ti lagnar taci non mi pregar" - Allegro (E flat major); for strings and basso continuo
  • Scene 4. Recitative: "Qual terra ignota al suol, qual antro cieco mi asconde"
    • Aria (Orlando): “Sorge l'irato nembo” - Allegro (C major); for strings and basso continuo; see. L'Atenaide RV 702b II: 7; Farnace RV 711b I: 14; Farnace RV 711d I: 14
  • Scene 5. Recitative: “Da questi sassi? sì da questi sassi "
    • Aria (Medoro): “Qual candido fiore” - Allegro (B flat major); for violins I / II, viola / basso continuo; see. Farnace RV 711d III: 1; Publio Cornelio Scipione (Prague 1729) RV Anh 127a.34
  • Scene 6. Recitative: “Nè giunge orlando ancor? Con la sua morte "
    • Aria (Angelica): "Chiara al pari di lucida stella" - Largo (B flat major); for strings and basso continuo; see. L'Atenaide RV 702b I: 1
    • Recitative: "Questa è amorosa fè, quello è un bel core"
  • Scene 7. Recitative: “Orlando, dove Orlando? Arresta il passo "
  • Scene 8. Recitative: “L'importuno parti. Vedesti aspira "
  • Scene 9. Recitative: “Precipitio ch'altrui morte saria”
    • Ritornello -… (D minor); for strings and basso continuo
  • Scene 10. Recitative: "Hai vinto al fine, ò moi pudico amore"
    • Aria breve (Ruggiero): "Che bel morir ri in sen" - Allegro non molto (C major); for strings and basso continuo
    • Recitative: "Narrate i miei contenti piante frondi erbe e fiori"
    • Aria (Bradamante): “Se cresce un torrente” - Presto (F major); for strings and basso continuo; see. L'Atenaide RV 702b I: 12; L'olimpiade RV 725 I: 6
  • Scene 11th choir (SATB): “Al fragor de 'corni audaci” -… (F major); for two horns, strings and basso continuo on stage, strings and basso continuo
    • Recitative: "Qui dove dolce zeffiretto spira"
    • Recitative (Medoro); for strings and basso continuo: "Te gran diva di Cipro alta, e possente"
    • Choir (SATB): “Gran madre venete gran nume tespio” -… (C major); for two trumpets, strings and basso continuo on stage
    • Recitative: "Così da questi Dei s'udisser per Ruggiero"
    • Choir (SATB): “Diva dell'espero fanciullo idalio” -… (C major); for two trumpets, strings and basso continuo on stage
    • Recitative: "Cosi dà questi Dei s'udisser per Ruggiero"
    • Aria (Alcina): “Così potessi anch'io” - Andante molto (E flat major); for violins I / II, viola and basso continuo; see. Ezio (Milan 1730) RV Anh 127a.13
  • Scene 12. Recitative: "M'ha commosso à pietà"
    • Arioso à 2 (Angelica, Medoro): “Belle pianticelle crescete” - Allegro (G major); for violins I / II and basso continuo
    • Recitative: "Leggi nel verde alloro"
    • Ritornello -… (G major); for violins I / II, viola and basso continuo
    • Duet (Angelica, Medoro): “Sei mia fiamma e sei mio bene” -… (G major); for violins I / II and basso continuo
  • Scene 13. Recitative: "Ah sleale, ah spargiura, donna ingrata infedel"
    • Arioso (Orlando): “Io ti getto elmo ed usbergo” -… (D major); for strings and basso continuo
    • Recitative: "Troverò allegerito Medoro quì d'angelica fù sposo"
    • Arioso (Orlando): "Hò cento vanni al tergo" - Larghetto (C major); for strings and basso continuo

Third act

  • Scene 1. Recitative: "Morto orlando tu credi?"
    • Aria breve (Astolfo): "Dove il valor combatte" - Allegro molto (C major); for strings and basso continuo
  • Scene 2. Recitative: “Vendetta sì cor mio. La tenti in vano "
  • Scene 3. Aria breve (Alcina): “L'arco vuò frangerti” - Allegro (C major); for strings and basso continuo
    • Recitative: “Mà in van minaccio amor; Ride il superbo "
    • Recitative (Alcina); for strings and basso continuo: "Numi orrendi d'averno sin dal profundo inferno"
    • Recitative: “Ti assista amor. Beche tu l'ale stenda "
  • Scene 4. Recitative: "Cortese Ifigenia il furibondo Oreste"
  • Scene 5. Arioso (Angelica): “Come pupureo fior languendo more” -… (C major); for violins I / II, viola con sordini
    • Recitative: "E 'la donna crudel Oh l'incostante mia preteria amante"
    • Arioso (Alcina): “Che dolce più che più giocondo stato” -… (E minor); for violins I / II con piombi, viola and bass (without harpsichord)
    • Recitative: "Mà se lungi è il suo ben qual più doglioso stato"
    • Aria breve (Angelica): "Poveri affeti miei siete innocenti" - Andante molto (G minor); for strings and basso continuo; see. L'Atenaide RV 702b I: 7; La fida ninfa RV 714 II: 2
  • Scene 6. Recitative: “Ella parte. Mirate la menzongna è con lei "
    • Aria (Bradamante): “Io son ne 'lacci tuoi” - Allegro (C major); for strings and basso continuo; see. L'Atenaide RV 702b III: 3
    • Recitative: "Parte il mio ben, amor che far degg'io?"
    • Aria (Alcina): "Nonè felice un'alma"
  • Scene 7. Recitative: “Gloria, che mi raggioni? Onor che parli? "
  • Scene 8. Recitative: "Costanza à allora il variar pensiero?"
    • Aria (Ruggiero): “Come l'onda con voragine orrenda e profonda” - Allegro (B flat major); for strings and basso continuo (without text); see. Ottone in villa RV 729a II: 1
  • Scene 9. Recitative: "Partir convien da questo cielo"
    • Recitative: "Pena il mio bene, non meno peno"
    • Aria (Medoro): “Vorrebe amando il cor” -… (F major); for strings and basso continuo (second version)
  • Scene 10. Recitative: "Nò nò ti dico nò forse pretendi ombra squallida"
    • Arioso (Orlando): "Scendi nel tartato nel tartaro" - Allegro (C minor); for violins I / II / viola / basso continuo
    • Recitative: “Furia bella, e crudel? Sono ben tutte tutte "
    • Recitative (Orlando): “Quando fracasso. Cos'è treman le mura “- Presto (G minor); for strings and basso continuo
    • Recitative: “Son pur stanco! pure lasso! Or che tratto hò il mio ben "
  • Scene 11. Recitative: “Infelice ove fuggo? ove m'ascondo "
  • Scene 12. Recitative: “Salciamci. E'dove ò bella? Arresta il piede "
  • Scene 13. Recitative: "Angelica si arresti, e pera Alcina"
    • Recitative (Alcina): "Oh ingiusti Numi, oh fati, o averse stelle"; for strings and basso continuo
    • Arioso (Alcina): "Anderò, chiamerò dal profundo" - Presto (G minor); for strings and basso continuo; see. Orlando finto pazzo RV 727 III: 12; Il Teuzzone RV 736 II: 11
    • Recitative: "Vedi che tuo trionfo l'eccidio della rea"
    • Choir (SATB): “Con mirti, e fiori” - Allegro (C major); for violins I / II, viola and basso continuo; see. Orlando finto pazzo RV 727 III: 15

Text parts that have not been used, probably from an early version

  • Scene I: 10. Aria (soprano = Medoro ?; without text) - Allegro (A major); for strings and basso continuo
  • Scene II: 4. Recitative: "Infelice cor mio innocente tu sei" (crossed out)
    • Aria (Ruggiero): "Piangerò sin che l'onda del pianto" - Largo (F major); for violins I / II / viola / basso continuo (only crossed out beginning); see. Orlando furioso ( Ristori ) RV Anh 84
  • Scene II: 9. Aria (Medoro): “Vorrebe amando amando il core” - Allegro (G minor); for strings and basso continuo (first version; only crossed out beginning and last 10 bars)
  • Scene III: 13. Aria (alto); for strings and basso continuo: "Empio duol che mi serpinel seno" (only crossed out ending)


Braccioli's text adheres closely to the “special (chaotic) structure as well as the literary tone” of Ariosto's epic and is thus in contrast to most contemporary operatic versions, which put more emphasis on the comedy, rational or moral aspects. The irrationality of the original is retained here. It is also unusual that the traditional role hierarchy is broken, because with Orlando / Angelica / Medoro and Ruggiero / Bradamante / Alcina there are two groups of three main characters. The dramaturgical sequence contains many inconsistencies that Vivaldi took over in his composition or even amplified them by rearranging arias. Braccioli integrated the original verses of Ariostus in some places in the recitative, which naturally offered little possibilities for an imaginative setting (for example Angelica's “Che dolce più” in the fifth scene of the third act comes from the XXXI chant of the original). In contrast, his aria texts were comparatively weakly inspired, and Vivaldi largely exchanged them in 1727.


Like most operas of Vivaldi's time, the Orlando furioso is structured according to a fixed scheme in which recitatives and da capo arias alternate. The main development of the content takes place in the recitatives, while the arias are often so-called "suitcase arias" which - taken out of context - are taken by the singers to other locations and incorporated into other opera productions could. Vivaldi himself took over ten of the Orlando arias in his opera L'Atenaide, composed two years later . However, the musical numbers all place such high demands on all singers, especially with regard to the coloratura culture, that only recently, with the growth of a new generation of singers trained in historical performance practice, adequate performances have become possible again.

Only in one single aria (“Sol per te mio dolce amore” by Ruggiero, first act, scene 12) is the transverse flute used as a virtuoso solo instrument. In the other pieces there are only a few concerting passages, which are usually limited to accompanying or playing around the singing voice in parallel thirds or sixths. Some arias have a polyphonic prelude. After the singing voice has started, the accompaniment is then withdrawn and only serves as a harmonic support.

Orlando's mad scene in the second act with his final aria “Ho cento vanni al piede” (second act, scene 13) forms the climax of the opera. It comes in its original form from the opera version of 1714, was revised in two steps by 1727 and probably still contains ideas from Giovanni Alberto Ristori . The scene itself takes place almost exclusively in the recitatives, consists of several increasing sections and culminates in an exciting dialogue between Orlando and the orchestra. In the third act he ironically quotes the folia's "folly" theme . Vivaldi also created the “magical” scenes such as the cave scene (second act, scene 9) or the opening of the temple by Alcina (third act, scene 3) primarily in recitatives and short ariosi. In contrast, Angelica and Medoro's wedding scene is extensive and equipped with choirs and stage music.

Since the madness and magic scenes could not be represented well in aria form with the means at the time, most arias have a "nostalgic-gallant" character. Almost all of Angelica's and Medoro's arias and Ruggiero's arias in the first two acts belong to this type, but also Alcina's virtuoso coloratura “Alza in quegl'occhi” (first act, scene 2), her calm aria “Così potessi anch'io” (second Act, scene 11) and a few more. The text of Angelica's “Tu sei degl'occhi miei” (first act, scene 8) and Bradamante's “Taci non ti lagnar” (second scene 3) are from the 1714 version.

There are also some heroic arias. Alcina's final aria of revenge “Anderò, chiamerò dal profondo” (third act, scene 13) and Ruggiero's “Come l'onda con voragine orrenda, e profonda” (third act, scene 8) were taken from Vivaldi from the 1714 opera version. Orlando's “Nel profondo cieco mondo ”(first act, scene 5), which originally had a dance-like character, he thoroughly revised.

Two storm arias should also be mentioned: Orlando's great “Sorge l'irato nembo” (second act, scene 4) with wild string accompaniment and Bradamante's rather declamatory, but extremely fast to be performed “Se cresce un torrente” (second act, scene 10) .


The Orlando furioso from 1727 ( RV 728) is Vivaldi's second artistic examination of Ariosto's verse epic. In 1713 the opera Orlando furioso by Giovanni Alberto Ristori based on a libretto by Grazio Braccioli was premiered in the Teatro Sant'Angelo . The following year, around November 11, 1714, after Vivaldi had become theater director of the San Angelo, he himself had staged a sequel to Ristori's opera with Orlando finto pazzo (RV 727) and thus possibly suffered a failure. After several revisions, he put Ristori's opera back on the program, for which he composed many new arias. This version (RV Anh. 84) was first performed on December 1, 1714. Only the first two acts of the score are preserved in a Turin manuscript.

In the following years the work was played in several further arrangements outside of Venice. These versions mainly contain music by other composers, e.g. B. a pasticcio version performed in Braunschweig in 1722 by Georg Caspar Schürmann (RV Anh. 122) or a version performed by Antonio Bioni in 1724 in Prague and 1725 in Breslau (RV Anh. 52).

In 1727 Vivaldi dared a new attempt and set the Orlando furioso largely anew. The basis was again Braccioli's libretto. The plot remained largely identical. But he rewrote some recitatives and exchanged many of the arias. In the libretto (but not in Vivaldi's own manuscript) the opera was simply titled Orlando without the addition “furioso”. Maybe Vivaldi wanted to emphasize his own authorship in contrast to Ristori's version. The music for it was probably created under time pressure. Vivaldi took about half of the original music, but added a transverse flute and two trumpets to the orchestra. The Orlando part, originally sung by a bass, was rewritten for the alto Lucia Lancetti, and the pitches of the parts of Astolfo, Bradamante and Medoro were also adapted to the singers who were now available.

The cast of singers for the premiere in November 1727 consisted of the alto Lucia Lancetti (Orlando), the soprano Benedetta Serosina (Angelica), the contralto Anna Girò (Alcina) and Maria Caterina Negri (Bradamante), the old castrati Casimiro Pignotti (Medoro) and Giovanni Andrea Tassi (Ruggiero) and the bass Gaetano Pinetti (Astolfo). So apart from five alto voices, there was only one soprano and one bass. Giuseppe Maria Orlandini's Intermezzo Serpilla e Bacocco was played between the acts of the opera . The performance probably had only a modest success, as the opera was replaced during the autumn season by a repetition of Vivaldi's Farnace .

The score of the Orlando furioso is not completely transmitted. It does not contain a sinfonia ( overture ), as it was still customary at that time to take it from other works. Also missing is Ruggiero's aria “Come l'onda con voragine orrenda” from the third act, which Vivaldi also set to music in his opera Ottone in villa , so that the alternative setting is regularly added to performances. The traditional parts, on the other hand, have been preserved in full instrumentation, so that no parts need to be added.

Vivaldi's version was not played again during his lifetime. However, other pasticcio operas with the title Orlando furioso were performed in various cities , the scores of which have not survived. The texts are mostly based on the version from 1713/1714.

Vivaldi's Orlando furioso experienced a rediscovery from the 1970s and is now one of his most important operas. Claudio Scimone recorded it in 1977 in a version by the musicologist Peter Ryom on phonograms. This arrangement was also staged between 1978 and 1981 in Verona, Nancy, Dallas and Paris. The music critic Ulrich Schreiber considered Orlando to be Vivaldi's “most successful opera”.

Recordings / sound carriers

Web links

Commons : Orlando furioso  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. The role of Orlando is described as soprano in Piper and librettidopera, and as mezzo-soprano in Heinz Wagner. In the setting of 1714 it was a baritone.
  2. The role of Alcina is referred to as soprano in Piper and librettidopera, and mezzo-soprano in Heinz Wagner.
  3. Rampe describes the role of Medoro as alto or soprano, Piper as soprano and Heinz Wagner and librettidopera as tenor.
  4. The role of Ruggiero is described by Piper as soprano, by Heinz Wagner and librettidopera as baritone.
  5. This name mentioned in the foreword of the libretto is written here as "Ardalico".

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f Reinhard Strohm: Orlando. In: Piper's Encyclopedia of Musical Theater . Volume 6: Works. Spontini - Zumsteeg. Piper, Munich / Zurich 1997, ISBN 3-492-02421-1 , pp. 514-517.
  2. a b c d e Siegbert Rampe : Antonio Vivaldi and his time. Laaber, 2010, ISBN 978-3-89007-468-9 .
  3. ^ Peter Ryom : Vivaldi catalog raisonné. Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 978-3-7651-0372-8 , pp. 467-475.
  4. ^ Work information based on the Ryom catalog on musiqueorguequebec.ca, accessed on November 2, 2019.
  5. a b c d e f g h i j k l Reinhard Strohm : The Operas of Antonio Vivaldi. Volume II. Leo S. Olschki, Florence 2008, ISBN 978-88-222-5682-9 .
  6. a b c d e f Ulrich Schreiber : Opera guide for advanced learners. From the beginning to the French Revolution. 2nd Edition. Bärenreiter, Kassel 2000, ISBN 3-7618-0899-2 .
  7. ^ Orlando furioso (Giovanni Alberto Ristori) in the Corago information system of the University of Bologna .
  8. Orlando finto pazzo (Antonio Vivaldi) in the Corago information system of the University of Bologna .
  9. Orlando furioso [riv.] (Antonio Vivaldi) in the Corago information system of the University of Bologna .
  10. ^ Michael Talbot : The Vivaldi Compendium. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge 2011, ISBN 978-1-84383-670-4 .
  11. Orlando furioso (Georg Caspar Schürmann) in the Corago information system of the University of Bologna .
  12. Orlando furioso (Antonio Bioni) in the Corago information system of the University of Bologna .
  13. ^ Record of the performance from November 1727 in the Teatro Sant'Angelo in the Corago information system of the University of Bologna .
  14. a b c d e f Antonio Vivaldi. In: Andreas Ommer: Directory of all opera complete recordings. Zeno.org , volume 20.
  15. Orlando Furioso (Lemieux, Larmore, Jarousski - Spinosi) DVD DVD review on tutti-magazine.fr (French), accessed on January 26, 2017.
  16. Antonio Vivaldi, Orlando Furioso 1714 on the Modo Antiquo website, accessed January 26, 2017.