Vivaldi: Catone in Utica (1737)
Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis (d)
Naïve OP30545

This newest offering from Alan Curtis and his Complesso Barocco is the exquisite marriage of an outstanding performance with a crisp recording of outstanding quality. Vivaldi’s three-act opera Catone lies late in his long and prolific output of works for the stage. Only the second two acts of Catone survive, but for this recording the overture and first act have been skillfully wrought by the composer and violinist Alessandro Ciccolini, who has borrowed material from previous works of Vivaldi to make a convincing three-act opera.

The performance of both singers and instrumentalists is delicious: Ann Hallenberg (Emilia) lyrically interweaves with the tight, precise playing of Curtis’s band, and there are stellar performances most notably from the tenor Topi Lehtipuu (Catone), and Romina Basso (Fulvio – originally a castrato role).

Listeners will enjoy this disc: the music is passionately performed and it brings a sensational work bounding out of the eighteenth century into the twenty-first; it oozes class and will delight the Italian opera lover or Vivaldi fan alike.

James Hobson


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