Vivaldi: Motezuma

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Archiv
WORKS: Motezuma
PERFORMER: Vito Priante, Marijana Mijanovi´c, Roberta Invernizzi; Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis
CATALOGUE NO: 477 5996
Here is an important discovery. The music for Vivaldi’s opera Motezuma, staged in Venice in 1733, was thought to have been lost. But in 2002 the German musicologist, Steffen Voss, unearthed some two thirds of Vivaldi’s score from among the treasures of the Berlin Sing-Akademie which turned up in Kiev in 1999. To cut a longish story short, only Act II of Motezuma has been preserved virtually complete as Vivaldi and his librettist Girolamo Giusti would have recognised it. The remaining two Acts, while containing a significant amount of Vivaldi’s surviving music, also feature a large quantity of newly composed recitative as well as arias which have been only partially preserved, or have been imported from other Vivaldi operas. Such new composition and re-working as was required has been skilfully done by Alessandro Ciccolini. Only occasionally did I find the accompanied recitative unidiomatic. In an exemplary presentation, Alan Curtis pays tribute to Jean-Claude Malgoire whose conjectural pasticcio and recording of Motezuma 14 years ago used the same overture and final chorus as the present version.


As its name suggests, the exotic story concerns the Spanish conquest of Mexico and the defeat of its ruler Montezuma by the conquistador Fernando Cortez. Curtis has assembled a vocally accomplished cast. Montezuma, a bass role, is sung with resonant authority by Vito Priante while that of Mitrena, his wife, is projected with feminine charm by Marijana Mijanovi´c whose singing in the recent Tito Manlio (Naïve, reviewed last issue) was praiseworthy. Roberta Invernizzi in the role of Teutile, their daughter, is experienced in Baroque style but her pitching of notes is not entirely secure. The instrumentalists of Il Complesso Barocco are on excellent form as indeed is Vivaldi himself in a rewarding score. Nicholas Anderson