The world of early 18th century opera was very different to that of, say, Mozart. The story was the thing. Librettos were offered to musicians as a means of getting the poetic drama before the public. Thus the great librettists were set multiple times. So it was with Vienna's imperial poet Metastasio's Catone in Utica. This story, set in the ancient Numidian city of Utica - now a ruin in Tunisia - involves the Roman Cato the Younger and his conflict with Julius Caesar. The plot itself is the usual mixture of love and betrayal, but because it was by Metastasio there were at least two settings, by Vinci and Hasse, even before Vivaldi composed the present piece.
Catone in Utica (1737), written for the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona, is one of Vivaldi’s last operatic masterpieces. Its splendid score, however, has come down to us incomplete: in fact the first of the three acts is missing. With infinite patience, Jean-Claude Malgoire has reconstructed the missing act, realising the recitative passages complying perfectly to Vivaldi’s stylistic idiom and integrating the missing arias with original arias taken from other operas written by the Red Priest. Thus Catone in Utica is at last available, in a world-première recording, in its complete form. This is unquestionably one of the highest moments in Vivaldi’s production of music theatre, a concise and highly efficacious score, rich in coups de théâtre and memorable arias, brought to us now in all its dazzling virtuoso beauty by a formidable singing cast. The recording was made in Turcoing, in France, during the performances given in November 2001 and has all the exciting freshness of a live recording in which the excellence of the performers is underlined by the audience’s enthusiastic applause.
Star countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic steps into new musical territory with the world premiere recording of Catone in Utica by Leonardo Vinci, a forgotten genius of Italian opera. The opera tells a powerful tale of Julius Caesar’s defeat of the Republican forces led by Marcus Porcius Cato in 46 BC, exploring the eternal themes of love, duty and honor. Featuring five countertenors along with conductor Riccardo Minasi who leads il pomo d’oro.
The world premiere recording of an opera by a Neapolitan master who is fast gaining an exceptional modern reputation. Setting a libretto by Metastasio, Leonardo Vinci's opera was unveiled in Rome in 1728 with an all-male cast (women having been banned from the stage by the Pope). Max Emanuel Cencic gathers around him a superb cast led by Riccardo Minaci.
Naive’s Vivaldi Edition is proud to present the 15th opera, and the 50th release, in the acclaimed series. Conducted by one of the masters of baroque opera, Alan Curtis, and gathering an impressive, vocal cast from the top echelons of Baroque singing 'Catone in Utica' is one of the Venetian master’s great, late operas. Composed four years before his death and premiered at Verona in the spring of 1737, 'Catone' inaugurated Vivaldi's third and last opera season. The Red Priest's farewell to the Teatro dell’Accademia Filarmonica was to resemble the crowning piece of a fire-works display.
The name of Leonardo Vinci, not to be confused with Leonardo da Vinci, is little known today, but he succeeded in the intensely competitive opera scene of the 1720s in Naples, at that time one of the greatest cities in the world. His comic operas were among the first to break up the Baroque style and push it toward the simplicity and lightness to come, but here the focus is on opera seria, which he wrote in abundance and for which he commanded libretti from Pietro Metastasio and other top writers of the day.