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Ezio Performed By Il Complesso Barocco

Recording of a little-known opera that was very successful in its own time.

From the portrait of Christoph Willibald von Gluck (1775) by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis.

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.

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Wendy Gillespie

Wendy Gillespie is Professor of Music, teaching early bowed strings and performance studies, at the Early Music Institute of the Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington, IN and President of the VdGSA. As a viola da gamba player, she has made more than 80 CDs and performed on five continents.

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