Handel: Catone, Hwv A7
Auser Musici; Novaro, Riccardo; Cirillo, Lucia; Hammarström, Kristina; Ipata, Carlo; Prina, Sonia; Invernizzi, Roberta
By bringing Catone to disc, Carlo Ipata is celebrating the pasticcio, especially those curated by George Frederic Handel, as is the case wtih this new Glossa release. In a co-production involving the Fondazione Teatro di Pisa and the Handel Festpiele Halle, Ipata brings a further slant on Handel's oepratic career in London: whilst 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 the best of recent Italian operas by other composers - all 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 Po and Antonio Montagnana. For this Halle performance Carlo Ipata has brought together a modern-day starry cast - Sonia Prina, Roberta Invernizzi, Riccardo Novaro, Kristina Hammarstrom and Lucia Cirillo - to sing the tale of the noble Roman Republican senator finding himself on the losing side of the 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.