"Alessandro Severo" is one of three pasticcio operas (along with "Giove in Argo" and "Oreste") in which Handel recycles material from earlier works - in the present case with a newly composed overture and recitatives. The music sits happily in its new setting and presents numerous opportunities for detective work for anyone familiar with the composer's forty some operas. Petrou and his forces have also given us the pasticcio "Oreste" along with "Arianna a Creta," "Guilio Cesare" and "Tamerlano." The last beats the recorded competition handily and the present item does not disappoint. The singers have good voices and vocal technique - in the case of Mary Ellen Nesi more than good - and bring the characters to life. Nesi's dark mezzo and fine florid singing have been ornaments of all Petrou's efforts. On the less positive side, the ornamentation in some of the da capo repeats strikes me as excessive - more like recomposition. The period instrument orchestra plays well, but I would have preferred a more straightforward treatment of the continuo instrumentation with less fussing a la Rene Jacobs.
The third disc presents inconsequential piece by the Greek composer Manzaro. It is a pleasant enough work in the style of Rossini's early efforts (La Cambiale di Matrimonio, etc.) but seems out of place and hardly worth the price of the additional disc. Couldn't MDG have given us one of Handel's dramatic cantatas instead? The coupling and my reservations stated above about the performance of the major work make me deduct a star from this significant addition to the Handel discography. As the only recording of Alessando Severo, it is self-recommending.