La fida ninfa premiered during carnival of 1732 in Verona, at the Teatro Filarmonico. The librettist of the text was Maffei. The work was composed to help celebrate the opening of the theater, which had been postponed for two years. In 1730, the city of Verona was surrounded by foreign military troops, and they decided to keep the theater closed and not have a gala opening until after the foreign troops had left the area. The production of the premiere was spectacular, and included elaborate ballets by Andrea Cattani, a famous ballet master from Poland, as well as sumptuous sets by Francesco Bibiena. La fida ninfa is an unusual opera for Vivaldi, in that it has many arias that are in non-da capo forms. By the 1730s, most operas were constructed out of recitatives and large-scale, formally developed da capo arias. There are several binary forms in this opera, and extremely abbreviated or altered da capo structures, which are adapted to the drama. There are also several important vocal ensembles, which is also unusual in an opera seria. Other important arias include “Dite oime,” in which the expressive, affective melody in the voice is accompanied only by the continuo. Here, the solo melodic line is all important, and filled with extreme chromaticism that expresses the affliction, suffering, and anguish of Morasto. One of Oralto’s arias is a unison aria, and features the bass voice singing the same part as the lower continuo line. Another of his arias is a trumpet aria written in the triumphal key of D major, and featuring trumpets and tamburo in the accompaniment. Large-scale ensembles close the acts, and serve as climaxes to the action. At the end of Act I there is an important vocal trio, while Act II ends with a four-part chorus complemented by trumpets, drums, and strings, with intervening solo sections for some of the characters. The finale to the opera is also long and elaborate. It contains an instrumental sinfonia for strings and horns called “Tempesta di Mare” which depicts a storm of the sea. Much of the material for this piece was derived from Vivaldi’s E flat major Violin Concerto, RV 253.
—Rita Laurance, Rovi
Read more and libretto: http://www.librettidopera.it/zpdf/fidaninfa.pdf