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Vivaldi’s music for Motezuma, long believed to be lost, was rediscovered in 2002, although less than two-thirds has survived. This 2008 Ferrara production uses the version completed by Alessandro Ciccolini and recorded by Alan Curtis in 2006. Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco reappear here, albeit with a different cast of singers, except for Vito Priante’s Motezuma. Director Stefano Vizioli opts for a brutal, modernist approach, a Brechtian take on Cortez’s conquest of Mexico that sees the stage strewn with corpses for much of the opera, although such grim realism rather undermines the baroque emphasis on stylised displays of vocal artistry. The singers here have their moments, but many of the arias are pretty interchangeable, Vivaldi at his most generic, so there’s a relentless rhythmic energy but few memorable tunes. With Il Complesso Barocco sounding unusually harsh, and poorly translated subtitles that mangle the English language, this is a Motezuma best avoided.

Graham Lock Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2011 - ©Rhinegold Publishing