The opera «Il Giustino» (1724) by Il prete rosso, Antonio Vivaldi is the longest opera that I have listened. It lasts 4 hours and 30 minutes. The plot is about Giustino, a farmer that get to be emperor in the Old Bizanzio (century V A.C). Gianluca Belfiori Doro as Giustino has the most heroic voice that I have listened from a countertenor and beatiful, of course. His aria «Bel riposo dei mortali» which he still ignores his glorious destiny is wonderful and makes you feel a heavenly peace. However the aria «Allor che mi vedró» which he considers his major glory the love of Leocasta, emperor Anastazio`s sister, is romantic but heroic at the same time. His aria «Ho nel petto un cor si forte» has an important psicological message: the force and the courage in the woe and distress. In spite of Anastazio makes Giustino to be in the jail because of the doubt that he had in the faithfulness of the Queen Arianna, his wife (he thought that she was cheatting on him with Giustino); the hero never lost the respect through the emperor: a plot that could be used with political interests to defend the loyalty to the King in spite of any human mistake that this one could commit.
Linda Campanella as Leocasta has a beautiful voice and plays by an excellent way the gorgheggi; for example her aria «Sventurata navicella se mai giunge a naufragar» is one of the most difficult arias that I have listened for a soprano. Another aria, «Candida fedeltá», sung by the tyrant Amanzio is delightful, too and it`s good that reveals the original style of Antonio Vivaldi.
The character of Vitaliano, Anastazio`s enemy is played warriorly. in spite of the wickedness that he transmits, his aria «Quando serve alla ragione» almost has the same message that the psicological aria from Giustino that I talked about. An aria of this character that is strange, but beautiful is «Il piacer della vendetta» (Act III), which in spite of to be an aria that should transmit wickedness, the sound of the strings makes you feel a positive feeling through the «vengeance». The strings sound by a happy, delightful and peaceful way. It reveals the feelings in the most human aspect.
Finally, the chorus «Dopo i nembi» has a royal spirit but you feel a strange feeling of sadness because of the end of the opera. This is difficult to do, considering this long opera but you can experience it. It`s a magic final.
I recommend this CD set. This opera is great and Estevan Velardi magnificent!