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About this Piece

“E prigionero e ré,” from Semiramide (Mantua, 1732). *This delicate aria conveys the sober reflections of the king [Zoroastro], condemned to death by the tyrant Nino. Musing on the vagaries of fate, Zoroastro affirms the steadfastness of his heart in the face of fickle destiny. Vivaldi cocoons the voice in an ethereal orchestral texture, one element of which is a poignant repeated string figure accompanied by a simple bass line…, and gives it a series of delicate, almost introspective coloratura passages which have the effect of making this graceful aria a brief moment of calm in the middle of a sordid conflict of political ambitions.*