The French musicologist Olivier Fourés discovered the manuscript for the 18th-century work two years ago in the archives of the Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello in Venice. The work's authorship is the subject of lively debate: Fourés is certain that at least one aria, "Sovvente il sole," was written by Vivaldi, and believes the whole work may in fact be by the composer; other scholars speculate that it is assembled from works by other composers such as Giovanni Porta and Tomaso Albinoni.
According to Fourés, Andromeda liberata was first performed at a celebration in honor of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni on his return to Venice after 14 years of political exile. The serenata, a large-scale Baroque cantata often performed with scenery and costumes, was used in such celebratory occasions.
The work will have its North American premiere as part of the Boston Early Music Festival at the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall on November 27. The Venice Baroque Orchestra will then tour the piece to Carnegie Hall (November 29), de Doelen in Rotterdam (December 4), the Vredenburg Utrecht (December 6), the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (December 8), and the Barbican in London(December 10).
A Venice Baroque Orchestra recording of Andromeda liberata has been issued by Deutsche Grammophon's Archiv Produktion, with Simone Kermes singing the role of Andromeda and Max Emanuel Cencic in the role of Perseo.