A German court has ruled that the Berlin Sing-Akademie, in whose archives the incomplete 18th-century manuscript was found, has the right to forbid performances of the work.
A concert performance of Motezuma (the name is a variant on "Montezuma") took place in June in Rotterdam using a performing edition prepared by German musicologist Steffen Voss, who discovered the manuscript in 2002, and Italian musicologist and conductor Federico Maria Sardelli, who conducted the world premiere with his Baroque ensemble Modo Antiquo.
The Sing-Akademie filed a civil lawsuit against Italy's Opera Barga and D‹sseldorf's Altstadtherbst Kulturfestival, both of which have planned staged versions of the work.
The Sing-Akademie claims to have published the manuscript on its web site, and says that it is protected by German copyright law, which holds that the finder of a work holds the rights to its performance for 25 years.
According to Musical America, De Doelen, the Rotterdam venue where Motezuma was performed, paid the Sing-Akademie 10,000 euros for performance rights. Count Georg zu Castell-Castell, the Sing-Akademie's board chair, has denied permission for the upcoming performances and asked that the festivals be fined 250,000 euros in damage compensation if they go forward with their plans.
The D‹sseldorf festival still has time to appeal the decision, but it is not yet known what Opera Barga will do about its planned performance, which begins next week.