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Born in Venice around 1670, Caldara gave Barcelona the first opera ever heard in Catalonia, Il più bel nome (1708), commissioned by his patron, the future Emperor Charles VI, before eventually settling in Vienna in the latter’s service in 1716. A prolific composer with three thousand works to his credit, Caldara died in the Austrian capital in 1736 – in the Kärtnerstrasse, like Vivaldi five years later . . . and in a similar state of destitution. [...] The genre, born in the wake of the Counter-Reformation and illustrated notably by the Roman composers Carissimi and Landi, was initially sung in Latin and performed in pious confraternities. But La Maddalena is an oratorio volgare, that is, sung in Italian. [...] The protagonists of La Maddalena, six in number, are split between Earth and Heaven. They are Martha, Mary Magdalene and a Pharisee on the one hand; Jesus, Earthly Love and Divine Love on the other. They divide among them thirty-three arias and ensembles, in a sequence alternating recitative and aria. Vincent Borel