La Vaghezza del Fato (The Uncertainty of Fate)
Composer: Giovanni Buonaventura Viviani
Libretto: Pietro Guadagni
The Baroque Ensemble Hof-Musici
Staged by Zuzana Vrbová
Harpsichord and conducted by Ondřej Macek.
Our production of Viviani’s opera La Vaghezza del Fato aims to introduce the audience to the work of another Baroque composer who was important in his time but has been unjustly forgotten today.
Giovanni Buonaventura Viviani (1638 – ca. 1692), violinist and composer, born in Florence, composed operas and oratorios for Venice, Rome and Naples, but he spent most of his life in the service of the Habsburgs in Innsbruck and in Vienna. Along with Antonio Cesti and Antonio Draghi, he is one of the most important representatives of Italian opera in Central Europe in the second half of the 17th century, i.e. at the time when Italian opera was only slowly beginning to cross the Alps.
Viviani’s “La Vaghezza del Fato” is his only surviving opera written for the imperial court of Leopold I. Its style conforms to the contemporary Venetian model, with rich stage designs and an adventurous plot enlivened by appearances of comic characters.
The circumstances surrounding the creation and premiere of this opera by Vivani are interesting. According to the sources preserved in the Austrian National Library – the handwritten score and the libretto, which has also been handed down in handwritten form – it was to be performed at the imperial court in Vienna during the carnival season of 1672. In February of that year, however, Leopold I’s newborn daughter, Archduchess Maria Anna Antonia, died, which led to court mourning and the cancellation of all carnival merrymaking, including the performance of a carnival opera. Viviani’s La Vaghezza del Fato was therefore obviously never heard, its libretto was never printed and only a handwritten copy was kept in the imperial court library. In all probability, our production is also the world premiere of this work.