The history of opera is inseparably linked with the biographies of singers; audiences have always been fascinated by both musical prowess and behind the scenes goings-on. The battle for prestige and fame was heated and passionate in the Baroque era, with legendary rivalries. Fiercely competitive, Cuzzoni and Bordoni were among the most acclaimed divas of the age, resorting to fisticuffs on stage. Present-day prima donnas Genaux, Prina, Nesi and Basso now follow in the footsteps of their fervid predecessors, presenting on disc a tongue-in-cheek survey of standout arias for mezzo soprano and contralto. Three star mezzos and a magnificent top contralto are accompanied by the superb Greek orchestra Armonia Atenea under conductor George Petrou, winner of Germany s prestigious ECHO Klassik Prize. A stunning recital, bringing to life the rich heritage of Baroque opera the acme of musical enjoyment with the entertaining element of cultic stardom.
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.