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.
"Despite the public context – the story is played out against the backdrop of the Olympic Games – this is a drama which focuses on the personal predicaments of the principal characters, each of whom faces an interesting conflict between head and heart somewhere along the line. This is more apparent from Metastasio's words than from Vivaldi's music, to be honest, but that isn't to say that the composer has been unresponsive. The most effective and intimate moments occur in the recitatives, which are fluidly conversational and full of realistic interruptions, questions and exclamations, all of which Vivaldi handles with considerable dramatic skill. Rinaldo Alessandrini's direction is typically unfussy and to the point, ever alert to the music's dramatic intent but without imposing himself on it unduly. The finest vocal performances come from Sara Mingardo, Roberta Invernizzi and Sonia Prina, but in truth no one is a weak link. The recitatives are effectively done, the arias thrown off with dash and aplomb, and everyone sounds as if they believe in the work.” (The Gramophone)