The description "the father of Italian opera" is a lot to live up to, but in this dramatic one act cantata, a retelling of the `Ariadne on Naxos' tale, one can discern why Maya was afforded such a high accolade. From the opening Sinfonia, an overture in all but name, one appreciates that this is no ordinary cantata, and as the action progresses through the series of choruses, arias, recitatives and orchestral interludes, it soon becomes aware that this is in effect an opera.
The performance is first rate with both protagonists, Ariadne, who is sung by beautiful pure soprano, Cornelia Horak, and Bacchus sung by the American tenor Thomas Michael Allen, in fine voice as are the Chorus of the Followers of Theseus and of Bacchantes, the Simon Mayr Chorus. They are more than ably supported by the Simon Mayr Ensemble which is directed from the harpsichord by Franz Hauk. This is a performance which stands out among the recordings that Naxos have made of the oratorios of Maya, and one which makes you long for more opera recordings than the one (L'amor coniugale 8.660198-99) that they have done!
The notes are a bit fragmented, and the libretto is only available online, but the scene is set and the background to the piece is laid down in the booklet, making this a very enjoyable and rewarding recording, highly recommended.