Albania: 300 years later, Vivaldi's Scanderberg back to life

On stage in Tirana, thanks to collaboration with Italian Opera

15 November, 19:49

A portrait of Antonio Vivaldi A portrait of Antonio Vivaldi

(ANSAmed) - ROME, NOVEMBER 15 - They had been lost in the mists of time, but between them, the Tirana Opera and Ballet Theater and the Verona Academy for Italian Opera recovered the notes of Antonio Vivaldi's opera 'Scanderberg, the Knight in Love'.   The opera centering on Skanderbeg, the 15th-century Albanian national hero, premieres at the Tirana Opera House on Sunday as part of the celebrations of Albania's 100th year of independence from Ottoman rule. The Italian embassy in Tirana is also participating with a series of events.

First performed at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence in 1718, the opera Vivaldi composed to an Italian libretto by Antonio Salvi went on to 18 more performances. The original libretto was recovered and integrated thanks to a long-standing collaboration between Albania and Italy, and to the work of Maestros Quirino Principe and Francesco Venerucci. ''From Florence, it toured Siena and then Bologna,'' said Tirana Opera Theater director, Zhani Ciko. ''The role of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg (1405-1468) was decisive in the fight against Turkish expansionism. In defending his land, he defended Christian, civilized Europe.'' Unifying the Christian principalities of Epirus and Albania, Skanderberg fought the Turks for 25 years, a feat for which Pope Calixtus III called him ''the athlete of Christ'' and ''defender of the faith.'' ''The opera will re-cross the sea that divides and unites us, returning to its birthplace in time for the next Florentine Musical May,'' Ciko said.

Co-produced by the Tirana Opera and Ballet Theater, the Verona Academy for Italian Opera, and the Italian Cultural Institute, 'Scanderberg, the Knight in Love' will be performed again on November 19 and 20. (ANSAmed).

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