Earlier this week, a German court ruled that the Berlin Sing-Akademie may forbid performances of a new performing edition of the long-lost opera. A manuscript for Motezuma was discovered in the Sing-Akademie's archives by German musicologist Steffen Voss, who prepared the edition with musicologist and conductor Federico Maria Sardelli.
Sardelli's Baroque ensemble Modo Antiquo had already given a concert performance of the opera in Rotterdam when the Sing-Akademie filed a lawsuit to prevent Opera Barga and D‹sseldorf's Altstadtherbst Kulturfestival from putting on staged versions of the work. The court upheld the Sing-Akademie's right as the finder of the work.
The Opera Barga performance will not include any of the recently discovered score. Instead, it will feature spoken recitatives from the version of the opera that is already in the public domain, and Vivaldi arias "of a similar rhythm and color" from Arsilda, regina di Ponto, Orlando furioso, and Tito Manlio.
Opera Barga has restored the "n" to the title of the work as well; Motezuma is a variation on "Montezuma."
Nicholas Hunt, Opera Barga's director, said in a statement on the web site, "The rights issue over the opera is far from over."
Noting that the spirit of the law is meant to protect scholarship and research, Hunt adds that "[The] Sing-Akademie have done nothing and invested very little in order to procure themselves this right, and the right might be just as well attributed to Steffen Voss, the first to recognize the fragment for what it was, or even Federico Sardelli, who has worked on revising the score for performance."
According to the web site Musical America, Sardelli has said he may take the matter to the European Court of Justice at Luxembourg and UNESCO.