A. Vivaldi, Catone in Utica, T. Lehtipuu, R. Mameli, A. Hallenberg, S. Prina, R. Basso, E. Baráth, Il Complesso Barocco, A. Curtis
(released on August 27, 2013)
Naïve OP30545 | 160'40"
The story is complicated by the presence of Pompey's widow, Emilia, rendered in high-flying fury by mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg, lavish in ornamentation, especially in the sea-tempest showpiece Come invano il mare irato, which brings Act II to a big finish. A legate from Rome, Fulvio, sung forcefully by Romina Basso, is in love with Emilia, who is hell-bent on avenging her husband's death on Cesare. The only disappointment vocally is tenor Topi Lehtipuu, a talented singer who sounds a bit outclassed by the florid demands of the role of Catone and may not have been in the best voice either. The end of the opera, in which Marzia and Arbace prevent Cato from committing suicide and are then joyously wed, is a let-down. The manuscript of the opera lacks the overture and the entire first act. The sinfonia from L'Olimpiade stands in for the former, and Alessandro Ciccolini has reconstructed and, in parts, outright composed music for the first act. He is also credited with the creation of the cadenzas and ornamented repeats for the singers, which are quite brilliant. Alan Curtis and his ensemble Il Complesso Barocco are in their usual fine form.