Antigono, The Forgotten Opera

Antigono, The Forgotten Opera

DIVINO SOSPIRO needs the help of its friends and fans to realize the creation of this important triple CD.

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  • 02/01/2014

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DIVINO SOSPIRO needs the help of its friends and fans to realize the creation of this important triple CD.


During the great earthquake of 1755 in Lisbon, much was destroyed: the dreams, the desires, and the hopes of a nation. On that fateful day of November 1st the grandeur of an aesthetically and economically powerful society vanished completely. Yet the opera ANTIGONO (1755) by Antonio Mazzoni remains as a crystallized image of that former society. The work is a testament to the operatic productions of the eighteenth century, one of the golden ages of Portuguese cultural life. It represents the glory of the Baroque, but at a time when the destruction of nature's devastating earthquake cast ANTIGONO into a temporal hiatus—an undeserved punishment for such an accomplished work. This much-awaited discographic project of baroque orchestra DIVINO SOSPIRO serves as an inaugural act of redemption and reconstruction—a breath of life into something that existed only on paper and a retrieval of the historic memory of Portuguese culture.

DIVINO SOSPIRO needs the help of its friends and fans to realize the creation of this important triple CD, which aims to revive this piece of Portuguese musical heritage—Mazzoni's ANTIGONO—a masterpiece magnificently resurrected more than 250 years after its premiere.  

Mazzoni's ANTIGONO was the last opera premiered in Lisbon before the great earthquake, and it was the third and last production of the ephemeral Ópera do Tejo. The unfortunate opera house Casa da Ópera do Paço da Ribeira (or Ópera do Tejo), constructed by the great Italian architect Giovanni Carlo Bibiena (1717-1760) and inaugurated in March 1755, was destroyed by the earthquake just months after its completion. The performance of Mazzoni's ANTIGONO at the Ópera do Tejo featured an extraordinary cast of singers, such as the virtuoso tenor Gregorio Babbi and the famous castrati Gaetano Guadagni and Gaetano Majorano Caffarelli—figures desired by royal courts across all of Europe. Today, ANTIGONO is one of the few surviving compositions of Antonio Mazzoni (1717-1785), the libretto of which was written by one of the foremost eighteenth-century poets, Pietro Metastasio, whose libretti were preferred by many composers of that time.

Mazzoni's score, a precious page from Portugal's history, is reborn from oblivion with the new CD of DIVINO SOSPIRO on the international label Dynamic. The recording is the result of an acclaimed modern premiere of the opera ANTIGONO (January 2011, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon) and presents a superb vocal cast, including many great names from international stages such as Michael Spyres, Ana Quintans, Pamela Lucciarini, Geraldine McGreevy, Martin Oro, and Maria Hinojosa Montenegro. The musical direction is by Enrico Onofri, who is commended wordwide for his work in this repertoire.                

About the author

Divino Sospiro baroque orchestra was founded by Massimo Mazzeo in 2004, with the collaboration of gifted musicians living and working in Portugal. During the time it has gained a reputation for having the highest standards in Early Music interpretation.

The group adheres rigorously to the finest stylistic and aesthetic principals of the baroque and classical periods and presents a repertoire whose composers represent the best artistic output of the period. The group has an impressive list of performances to its name including appearances with the Folle Journée 2003,2005 and 2006, a tour to Italy in which has received enthusiastic reception from both public and critics. Divino Sospiro received invitations from prestigious festivals and institutions like Festival d’Ile de France in Paris, La Folle Journée in Nantes and Tokyowhere had obtained success beyond any expectation, the Belém Cultural Center, the Gulbenkian Foundation and the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, Festival Varna Summer (Bulgaria), Febrero Lirico at San Lorenzo de L’Escorial and Auditório Nacional de Espanha (Madrid, Spain), “Mozartiana” in Gdansk (Poland), Festival d'Ambronay (France) among others.

In 2006 Divino Sospiro realized a very successful tour to Tokyo. Following to this great result was invited by the Japanese enterprise NICHION to record a live concert with Mozart repertoire. Since its appearance in the Japanese market the CD has obtained various goals included the “Bestseller” label. In the meantime Divino Sospiro performances have been recorded by some of the most important Radio and TV European channels such as Radio France, France Musique, Mezzo, RTP, Antena 2, RNE, the Polish and Bulgarian national radio stations.

Its reputation has brought with the opportunity to collaborate with some of the baroque music world’s most important artists. Since its formation it has appeared with conductors and soloists such as Christophe Coin, Katia and Marielle Labeque, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Chiara Banchini, Alfredo Bernardini, Enrico Onofri, Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Gemma Bertagnolli, Maria Cristina Kiehr, Christina Pluhar, Kenneth Weiss, Gemma Bertagnolli, Deborah York among others.

Divino Sospiro is actively involved in promoting the pedagogical and musical education of music of the baroque period and recently sponsored master classes given by the most eminent artists.

Divino Sospiro is currently the baroque orchestra in residence at the CCB (Belém Cultural Center) in Lisbon and is regularly conducted by Enrico Onofri, whom which the ensemble has developed a precious and continuative artistic relationship.

In 2011 Divino Sospiro presented with great success the modern world premiere of Mazzoni's “Antigono”, followed by the world premieres in 2012 and 2013 of the oratorios by Pedro António Avondano “Morte d'Abel” and “Gioas, Re di Giuda”.

The latest CD of the group,  "1700, Century of the Portuguese" was released in 2012 by the international label Dynamic and obtained great success and positive feedback from the public and the critics.   

In 2013 DS opened a new Centre of 18th Century Studies at the Queluz National Palace near Lisbon, with the intention of structured recuperation of the Portuguese baroque and classical repertoire. The concert season DIVINO SOSPIRO at the Queluz Nacional Palace will be held from March 2014 on, with the participation of prominent national and international artists (Gulbenkian Orchestra, Pedro Burmester, Divino Sospiro, Christophe Coin, Alexander Lonquich, etc.).




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Mon, 26/08/2019 - 10:01


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Wed, 11/12/2013 - 12:02

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