Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest") because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, Catholic priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over forty operas. His best known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.
'L’incoronazione di Dario' must be considered one of Vivaldi’s most successful operas. Immediately opening with exceptional arias, it moves at a rapid pace, holding the listener’s attention throughout. Recitatives are interspersed with arioso interludes and there no less than eight 'big' numbers sure to join the ranks of 'Vivaldi’s best opera arias'. The excellent cast acts out this drama with conviction: Anders Dahlin’s sings Dario, with impeccable intonation and stunning coloratura passages; Sara Mingardo, as Statira, brings great depth and beauty, most especially in her Act 2 solo Cantata accompanied only by viola da gamba. Delphine Galou sings with an impressive natural ability and passion and two of her arias in particular are sure to remain benchmarks: 'D’un bel viso' and 'Ferri, ceppi, sangue, morte'; Roberta Mameli, Riccardo Novaro, Sophia Soloviy and Lucia Cirillo are all excellent and each of them has at least one star aria. Ottavio Dantone’s conducting is marked by his ability to bring out the many subtilties in this music and by his profound understanding of recitativos which he is able to bring fully to life as theatre.