Vivaldi Opera Revived 278 Years Later

Czech musician tracks down long-lost work in Germany
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2008 5:57 PM CDT
Czech harpsichordist and conductor Ondrej Macek plays instrumental parts from Antonio Vivaldi's lost and found opera Argippo at a news conference in Prague Monday, April 21, 2008.   (AP Photo/CTK, Michal Krumphanzl)
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(Newser) – A long-lost opera by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi has resurfaced nearly 280 years after its Prague premiere, BBC reports. Argippo, a tale of love and deception set in an Indian maharaja’s court, was first performed in 1730 but vanished soon after, leaving only a libretto. But that was enough for a Czech musician to start hunting around Europe for the rest.

"I found out that in 1733, three years after the premiere, the Italian music ensemble appeared in Regensburg,” a German city, Ondrej Macek said. “They'd been invited there after the theatre in Prague burnt down.” The rare music buff eventually found some of Argippo's arias in a German collection, filled in the rest—and conducted the opera last night at a castle in Prague.