Before Christoph Willibald Gluck played a large part in the reformation of opera in the 1760’s, he was a very successful composer of Italian opera seria.
The success of Gluck’s opera Ezio, the first version of which dates from 1750, can be gauged in part by his many later borrowings of its music. Set in 5th century Rome, its librettist Metastasio tells the story of a victorious general of the imperial army, who had just put Attila the Hun to flight, and who was unjustly accused of disloyalty to the emperor and condemned to death.
Il Complesso Barocco, under the direction of Alan Curtis, recorded the opera in 2008. It was released in 2011 by EMI’s Virgin Classics. The villain Massimo has the most ravishing aria in the opera, “Se povero il ruscello, (rushello),” which Gluck later adapted in his Orfeo to depict Orfeo’s impressions of the Elysian fields.