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This royal trio are not operatic kings, but the composers named above, the principal contributors to the Royal Academy of Music, founded in London in 1719. Handel needs no introduction, but today we enjoy only scant acquaintance with the operas of Giovanni Bononcini and even less with those of Attilio Ariosti (1666–1729). One of the fascinating aspects of this imaginatively conceived CD is the opportunity it provides to compare composers working conjointly for the same theatre, not least in two of the most imposing excerpts on the disc, those taken from Handel’s Ottone (January 1723) and Ariosti’s Coriolano (February 1723). Both inhabit the same bleak world of hopelessness, given voice in

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