Vivaldi’s Motezuma, the opera that refuses to die, will grace the boards after all, says an article by Paul Moor at Musicalamerica.com. A court in Duesseldorf has held that the Altstadtherbst Festival in that city may stage the piece, regardless of a previous injunction against performances filed by the “copyright owner,” the Berliner Sing-Akademie. (The court apparently regarded the case as rather urgent, since it took the unusual step of calling an Eilverfahren, a type of expedited hearing, to settle the matter.)
This is an interesting legal problem. The Sing-Akademie claims copyright under a German law that an ancient work that has never been published may be copyrighted by the finder. The Altstadtherbst lawyers pointed out that the existing copy of the Motezuma score originated in a Venetian copyist’s shop. Hand-copying, they asserted, was the standard method of “publication” in Vivaldi’s time, and so Motezuma could hardly be called “unpublished.”
The Altstadherbst performances will proceed as scheduled beginning September 21. And La Cieca is still wondering: has anybody pitched this opera to Cecilia Bartoli yet?