STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION
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Sets – Costumes
With the Armonia Atenea orchestra, the musical ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro and the Chorus of the GNO
The presale of tickets will start soon
Opera • New production
Greek National Opera - Stavros Niarchos Hall
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
Starts at: 19.30 (Sundays: 18.30) |
This production, part of a tribute to the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org].
Walking around the Spiniada, Corfu’s central square, you will come across a monument by sculptor Antonio Corradini: the statue of Johann Matthias von Schulenburg, Saxon commander of the island from the end of the 17th century to the beginning of the 18th century. He was the one that led Venice’s few military forces to a victory against the multitudinous Ottoman armies under the leadership of Kapudan Pasha Canum Hoca and Kara Mustafa Pasha in summer 1716. Corfu was the last stumbling block to the conquest of Venice and this Venetian victory was of paramount importance, as it halted the Ottoman army’s advance in Europe.
To celebrate this event, La Serenissima commissioned Vivaldi to compose the oratorio Juditha triumphans. It was based on a Latin libretto by Iacopo Cassetti, which was in turn inspired by the Book of Judith from the Old Testament. The king of Babylon Nebuchadnezzar sends his general, Holofernes, to conquer the city of Bethulia in Israel. To save her Israelite compatriots, courageous Judith decides to seduce Holofernes. When he falls asleep, she cuts his head off. The analogy is obvious: Judith symbolizes La Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia and Christianity, while Holofernes stands for the Ottoman Empire and Islam, with the first one prevailing over the second. The analogy is described by Cassetti himself in the prologue of his poem: “War is near and the enemies are enraged; Judith is the Adriatic sea and her maid Abra is the faith; Bethulia is the church –with Ozias being the high priest–, the union of Christians and the honour of the virgins; Holofernes is the king of the Turks, and his squire is a eunuch; it is obvious that the Venetian fleet shall prevail”.
Juditha triumphans is the only extant oratorio of the four that Vivaldi composed. The intense war atmosphere is conveyed through the dynamic choral parts, and Judith’s faith and integrity through the lyrical and tender writing. Notable is the use of many different and relatively rare instruments, such as the viola d’amore, chalumeaux, and theorbos, used by Vivaldi to highlight the opera’s most significant moments.