Sonia Prina (Catone), Lucia Cirillo (Marzia), Riccardo Novaro (Cesare), Kristina Hammerström (Arbace), Roberta Invernizzi (Emilia)
Auser Musici, Carlo Ipata
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By bringing 'Catone' to disc Carlo Ipata celebrates the pasticcio, in particular those curated by George Frideric Handel, as is the case with this new Glossa release. In a co-production with the Fondazione Teatro di Pisa and the Händel Festspiele Halle, Ipata brings a further slant on Handel’s operatic career in London. Despite being busy with running the second Royal Academy of Music and writing his own operas, the composer was striving to present London audiences with selections from Italian operas by other composers, at the same time as giving his star singers the opportunity to show off early in the opera company’s season. One result was 'Catone' in 1732, with music by Leo, Hasse, Vivaldi, Vinci, Porpora as well as by Handel himself; company members included Senesino, Anna Maria Strada del Pò and Antonio Montagnana.
For this Halle performance Carlo Ipata has brought together a modern-day starry cast: Sonia Prina, Roberta Invernizzi (see previous page for her own Handel opera arias release); Riccardo Novaro, Kristina Hammarstrom and Lucia Cirillo - to sing the tale of the noble Roman Republican senator finding himself on the losing side of battles with Julius Caesar and with his daughter being in love with the conquering general. Angela Romagnoli provides a resounding defence of the Handelian pasticcio in her booklet essay.
The pasticcio’s plot functions admirably, the arias are stunning, both individually and collectively: the recording is a feast of sparkling, crowd-pleasing virtuosity.