Antonio Vivaldi: Giustino RV 717

Vivaldi Hardbound

Edited by Reinhard Strohm (1991 / reprinted 2022)

Two-volume set: score pp. XXIV, 525/ Introduction and critical commentary pp. 245 [Italian and English texts]
PR 1276

[Excerpt from the Introduction and Critical Commentary]

Giustino was composed by Vivaldi in 1724 as the second carnival opera for the Teatro Capranica in Rome. It shows the composer on the verge of modernising his style while summing up the most individual achievements of his earlier years. After the first performance, it was withdrawn definitively from use in public performances until 1985, when it was staged under the musical direction of Alan Curtis, on the basis of the present score we are reprinting today, at the Teatro Olimpico of Vicenza, in Versailles, and at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice.

Giustino is one of the twenty ‘drammi per musica’ by Vivaldi for which sufficient autograph material survives, including the recitatives, to make modern stage revivals possible. It’s part of the 27 mostly autograph manuscript volumes that must have been part of Vivaldi’s personal library, whence they passed to the Venetian libraries of Jacopo Soranzo and Giacomo Durazzo during the eighteenth century and today they form part of the Mauro Foa and Renzo Giordano collections of the Biblioteca Nazionale, Turin.

As shown by the state of the manuscript, nobody – not even Vivaldi – tampered with the musical text after 1724; paper analysis shows that the whole manuscript was written no more than a few weeks before the performance in Rome.

Any copying which did occur in the eighteenth century must derive from copies made while the autographs were still in Vivaldi’s own possession. In fact, the only complete eighteenth-century copy of any of his operas which is known at present (the Berlin score of Teuzzone) was compiled by scribes under his own supervision and is signed by the composer himself.

All this places the existing autograph of Giustino in a remarkable position of authority. This score was used both in composition and performance (the latter cannot be shown demonstrably but is almost certain).

It is thus established that the various alterations and different ‘layers’ of compilation which can be observed in the score stem from the composition, rehearsal and performance period itself and it was used by the composer himself only for the copying of individual numbers performed in his later operas.

The only other important source for Giustino stands equally isolated in its textual status. This is the printed libretto of 1724. In accordance with contemporary usage, it must have appeared only a few days before the first night, and the printer must have aimed at reproducing the text precisely as it was sung.

List of Arias

Act I
Arianna with choir, Viva Augusto eterno Impero
Anastasio with choir, Viva Arianna, e il suo bel core
Anastasio, Un vostro sguardo
Arianna, Da’ tuoi begl’occhi impara
Giustino, Bel riposo de’ mortali
Fortuna, Della tua sorte (version «A»)
Fortuna, Della tua sorte (version «B»)
Leocasta, Nacque al bosco e nacque al prato
Arianna, Sole degl’occhi miei
Amanzio, La gloria del mio sangue
Anastasio, Vedrò con mio diletto
Giustino, Allor che mi vedrò
Leocasta, No, bel labro, men sdegnoso
Andronico, È pur dolce ad un’anima amante
Vitaliano, All’armi, o guerrieri!
Vitaliano, Vanne sì, superba, va
Arianna, Mio dolce amato sposo

Act II
Anastasio, Sento in seno ch’in pioggia di lacrime
Polidarte, Ritrosa bellezza
Duetto, Arianna and Anastasio, Mio bel tesoro, mia dolce speme
Arianna, Per noi soave e bella
Vitaliano, Quel torrente che s’innalza
Andronico, Più bel giorno e più bel fato
Leocasta, Senti l’aura che leggiera
Arianna, Augelletti garruletti
Anastasio, Verdi lauri, cingetemi il crine
Giustino, Su l’altar di questo Nume (version «A»)
Giustino, Su l’altar di questo Nume (version «B»)
Amanzio, Candida fedeltà
Anastasio, Taci per poco ancora
Vitaliano, Quando serve alla ragione
Anastasio, Se all’amor, ch’io porto al trono
Arianna, Dalle gioie del core amor pendea
Leocasta, Sventurata navicella
Giustino, Ho nel petto un cor sì forte

Vitaliano, Il piacer della vendetta
Giustino, Zeffiretto, che scorre nel prato
Arianna, Quell’amoroso ardor
Giustino, Il mio cor già più non sa
Leocasta, Senza l’amato ben
Amanzio, Sì, vo a regnar
Arianna, Sentire che nel sen (version «A»)
Arianna, La cervetta timidetta (version «B»)
Amanzio, Or che cinto ho il crin d’alloro
Duetto, Arianna and Anastasio, In braccio a te la calma
Leocasta, Lo splendor ch’a sperare m’invita
Choir, Doppo i nembi e le procelle