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Tra le follie

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Opera title:



Antonio Vivaldi




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Previous scene: Siam navi all onde algenti

Vivaldi - L'Olimpiade "Siam navi all'onde algenti" C Bartoli

Singer: Cecilia Bartoli

Thanks to my dear Marc (MehdiCaps) for helping me with editing the score and the libretto and also creating the slide for the recitative.

Antonio Vivaldi

L'Olimpiade, opera in 3 acts, RV 725
"Tra le follie...Siam navi all'onde algenti"
Aminta's aria from Act II, Scene 5

Libretto: Pietro Metastasio.

This recording:
The Vivaldi Album
Cecilia Bartoli,
with Il Giardino Armonico
Conducted by Giovanni Antonini

About the score:
Bartoli sings in modern pitch.
I wasn't able to find the score for the recitative, so I used a slide with the libretto.

There were some obvious mistakes in the score I got from Mutopia Project. MehdiCaps and I had to do some editing to correct them. For example, measure #11 had only 2 beats instead of 4 as it was indicated on the score and the following measure had 4 beats and was not numbered. We removed the bar line and added 6/4 time mark instead of 4/4 and put a 4/4 mark on the next measure. The solution we came up with is not the best or the only solution, however it was the most practical one.

First performed: Venice, Teatro Sant'Angelo, 17 February 1734.

Libretto by Metastasio, set to music by over 60 baroque and classical composers.


Clistene: King of Sicione, father of Aristea
Aristea: Clistene's daughter, beloved of Megacle
Argene: Cretan lady disguised as the shepherdess, Licori, betrothed to Licida
Licida: generally believed to be the son of the king of Crete, lover of Aristea, friend of Megacle
Megacle: lover of Aristea and friend of Licida
Aminta: preceptor of Licida,
Alcandro: confidant of Clistene

About the aria:
(from the booklet of "the Vivaldi Album")
"... "Siam navi all'onde algenti", written for the castrato Marianino Nicolini, is an example of Vivaldi's encounter with the poetry of Pietro Metastasio, the greatest 18th century writer of opera libretti. The opening recitative takes us into the Venetian composer's creative workshop. Indeed, Vivaldi's own interpretation of Metastasio's text is very personal, completely overturning that sense of a contemplation of human affairs present in the original. With his setting of a few new lines, Vivaldi creates a sense of turbulence which breaks out directly in the aria. It is now the "folly... of love" that determines the constant state of agitation which Aminta's aria expresses so well by means of musical figurations which exploit every hint in the literary text and exalt its dramatic meaning."

Original Text:

Tra le follie diverse,
de' qual ripieno è il mondo,
chi può negar che la follia maggiore
in ciascuno non sia quella d'amore?

Siam navi all'onde algenti
lasciate in abbandono:
impetuosi venti
i nostri affetti sono:
ogni diletto è scoglio:
tutta la vita è un mar.

Ben, qual nocchiero, in noi
veglia ragion; ma poi
pur dall'ondoso orgoglio
si lascia trasportar.


Of all the many follies
of which the world is full,
who can deny that the greatest folly
in anyone is that of love?

We are like ships on the silver waves,
drifting out of control;
like capricious winds are our affections,
every pleasure is a rock,
the whole of life a sea.

Like a steersman reason
keeps good watch over us, but then
on the swell of pride
we let ourselves be carried away.

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