Didone abbandonata was one of the greatest successes in the rather brief operatic career of Leonardo Vinci, a musician who had an adventurous life about which we still know very little. Written for Rome’s Teatro delle Dame, the opera was premiered during the 1726 Carnival season and marked the first collaboration between Vinci and Pietro Metastasio, a teamwork destined to produce abundant fruits, for in the four following years Metastasio would write as many as five new librettos for Vinci. It was immediately very successful, as was the Florentine production here presented, which was the first modern performance of Didone abbandonata, finally reviving one of the great masterpieces of early 18th-century opera. This production was recorded live at Teatro di Firenze and features a cast of Baroque specialists including Roberta Mameli, Carlo Allemano, and Raffaele Pe.
The name of Leonardo Vinci, not to be confused with Leonardo da Vinci, is little known today, but he succeeded in the intensely competitive opera scene of the 1720s in Naples, at that time one of the greatest cities in the world. His comic operas were among the first to break up the Baroque style and push it toward the simplicity and lightness to come, but here the focus is on opera seria, which he wrote in abundance and for which he commanded libretti from Pietro Metastasio and other top writers of the day.
“This magnificent production is a complete and blissful success. Don’t miss it.” Those were the words of the French website Classique News when Leonardo Vinci’s rediscovered Artaserse was staged by Silviu Purcãrete at the Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy. Complementing the CD version of the opera released in Autumn 2012, this DVD features no fewer than five of the world’s leading countertenors – assuming both male and female roles: Philippe Jaroussky, Max Emanuel Cencic, Franco Fagioli, Valer Barna-Sabadus and Yuriy Mynenko.