Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Antonio VIVALDI (1678 - 1741)
Motezuma (Montezuma) (1733) [153:00]
Motezuma - Vito Priante
Mitrena - Mary-Ellen Nesi
Teutile - Laura Cherici
Fernando Cortés - Franziska Gottwald
Ramiro - Theodora Baka
Asprano - Gemma Bertagnolli
Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis
Director: Stefano Vizioli
Teatro Comunale di Ferrara, 2008
Region Code: 0; Sound format: 16:9; Picture format: LPCM 2.0
Booklet notes: Ita, Eng, Fre, Ger
Subtitles: Fre, Eng, Ger, Spa, Ita
World premiere recording
DYNAMIC 33586 [75:14 + 74:46]

Experience Classicsonline


Surviving as a fragment, Vivaldi’s 1733 opera Motezuma - known as Montezuma prior to the recovery in 2002 of the surviving manuscript - requires modern intervention for execution. This new recording is based on the Bärenreiter edition prepared by the conductor Alan Curtis and includes Alessandro Ciccolini’s reconstruction of the missing material. Already available in another performance conducted by Curtis and also a recording by Malgoire, the new DVD benefits from a fine cast and an effective staging, which have much to recommend. As a Baroque opera, the subject-matter alone shifts from the tales of antiquity that usually find expression in librettos involving the gods of the Greeks and Romans to present instead the more recent and immediate tragedy of Cortez’s conquest of Montezuma’s empire in the New World. It adopts a sympathetic stance in defense of the indigenous people, not the European explorers. In conveying this sense of tragic loss, Vivaldi’s libretto focuses on Montezuma, his consort and their daughter as they face the machinations of the Spanish general Fernando, his brother Ramiro, and Asprano, the governor of what would become Mexico.
 
Within the timely nature of the story, the numbers as Vivaldi conceived them put a familiar and accessible face on the native characters. Mitrena, sung by Mary-Ellen Nesi, is a powerful character, as wife of Motezuma and mother of Teutile. Her aria “La figlia, lo sposo” is persuasive, and demonstrates Nesi’s finesse in the role. Her sense of line renders the figuration and ornaments with exemplary clarity, along with the tone colors she uses to bring out the sense of this number and the others in this opera. Franziska Gottwald is similarly adept at the style, with a stunning presentation of Fernando Cortez. The aria “L’aquila generosa” stands out for the virtuosity she exhibits in that number, a tour de force that demonstrates the strength of this score.
 
As persuasive as Vito Priante is at the opening of the opera in the number “Son vinto, eterni dei!”, the piece in which Motezuma fears the gods of his nation have abandoned them to the Spaniards, his aria “Dov’e la figlia,” near the conclusion of the opera, demonstrates an intensity at the loss of his daughter Teutile and the despair his character perceives at the loss of his kingdom and family. The emotional pitch of latter number is powerful, with his impassioned presence translating well into this film. In fact the effect on the audience can be seen at the conclusion of the aria, when he moves to the end of the stage and a patron in the nearby box moves away at his approach. His lyrical bass is effective in bringing out the florid passages cleary and expressively.
 
As Teutile, Laura Cherici merits attention. Her reaction to the conquest of Mexico is expressed well in the early part of the opera in the aria “Barbaro, piu non sent”, a piece that demonstrates her vocal facility well. Later, as a captive, Teutile, who loves the Spaniard Ramiro (here played by Theodora Baka), is ready to sacrifice herself, and her conflicted emotions are expressed well in the aria “L’agonie dell alma affitta,” a piece that is builds in intensity through the slow tempo that allows the details of the vocal line to unfold like a good narrative. Cherici’s approach to the vocal line has the precision of a keyboard instrument, yet she bends the pitches as necessary and allows the rhythmic steadiness of the number to suspend in ornamentation she brings to cadences.
 
The orchestra, Curtis’s Il Complesso Barocco offers a solid accompaniment, with a sound that supports the voices well, with a cohesive string sound that emerges well from the pit used in this production. The overture, a rare chance to hear the orchestra by itself, is properly extroverted in setting the tone for the drama. In other, similar exposed passages, Il Complesso Barocco responded well to Curtis’s direction.
 
A modern discovery Motezuma is already known through Curtis’s early CD recording of the opera as well as Malgoire’s release. Yet this DVD allows audiences to apprehend the work on stage, as it was intended, and the production serves the opera well. The stage design is minimal in suggesting the period and various locations in Mexico, and its sparseness allows the performers to make full use of the stage in working with each other and projecting nicely the audience present for the recording. The film itself makes use of close-ups and other perspectives that bring the viewer to the stage in ways that would be physically impossible from the audience.
 
In this sense the DVD serves the opera well in giving it a sense of theater that does not always emerge from audio recordings alone.
 
In a compelling performance like this one, though, it is useful to know more about the origins of the work, and while the essay by Mariateresa Dellaborra is useful, the information is general. The plot summary is keyed to the presentation of the work on two discs, and so has the artificial division of the opera into two parts, and the description of the action in the text lacks references to any specific numbers. This could be easily remedied by the inclusion of such details or the publication of the libretto used for this production. With the latter, it would be useful to include with the production the details about the opera found in the booklet with the Deutsche Grammophon CD of Motezuma, to explain the derivation of the score from existing music by Vivaldi. While the reworkings of Händel are a matter known to scholarship on that composer, the situation is different with Motezuma, which required the repurposing of existing music by Vivaldi to perform the piece. The pieces derived from existing numbers from Griselda and other operas are familiar enough to merit attention in the accompanying booklet or even as an “extra” on the second disc. Further, while information is available on the Internet and elsewhere, the second disc could benefit from a short “extra” on the historic Montezuma, so that viewers can understand how the facts of Cortez’s conquest found the shape the librettist gave them.
 
That stated, those interested in Baroque opera and, specifically, Vivaldi’s contributions to the genre, will find it useful to view this production of Motezuma by Stefano Vizioli. It is compelling visually and aesthetically satisfying, so that it is possible to gain a sense of the opera’s impact on stage, granted within a reconstructed score. More than that, the performance merits attention for the fine efforts of the musicians involved in bringing the extant music of Motezuma to the stage.
 
James L Zychowicz 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.