Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito CD review – Allemano and Aldrich shine in otherwise undistinguished reconstruction

Allemano/Bernsteiner/Aldrich/Solvang/Academia Montis Regalis/De Marchi
(CPO)

Even by Mozart’s standards, La Clemenza di Tito was composed in haste, commissioned for the celebrations in Prague marking the coronation of Leopold II as king of Bohemia in September 1791. The opera seria libretto was adapted from a well-used text by Metastasio, and the secco recitative might well have been composed by one of Mozart’s pupils, but after his death later the same year, it became one of his most widely performed operas. Among the many stagings was one in Vienna in 1804 for which the court music director Joseph Weigl took it upon himself to insert new material: replacement arias for Tito, as well as a duet for Tito and Sesto. Two of those numbers Weigl composed himself, another was by the Bavarian composer Johann Simon Mayr, while the others remain anonymous.

That’s the version of La Clemenza di Tito that has been reconstructed by conductor Alessandro De Marchi and recorded from stage performances at the Innsbruck early music festival in 2013. Weigl’s editorial work is not a travesty, but it’s not particularly distinguished either. Apart from De Marchi’s rather extreme tempi, both fast and very slow, the most striking aspects of the performance are the singing of Carlo Allemano as Tito and Kate Aldrich as Sesto, and the instrumental playing by the members of Academia Montis Regalis, particularly its clarinettist.

Contributor

Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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