Tuesday, 29 January 2008

42. Claudio Monteverdi - L'Incoronazione di Poppea (1643)


Title: L'Incoronazione Di Poppea
Performers: Arleen Auger, Della Jones, City Of London Baroque Sinfonia
Director: Richard Hickox
Year: 1988
Length: around 2 hours 40 minutes


This is the last of the operas by Monteverdi and even though it is his most mature opera it is definitely not my favourite one. Although Monteverdi has actually improved his art in making the opera more consistent throughout there are less moments of awe here. Actually there are only two quite awe inducing moments, the death of Seneca at the beginning of the second act and the last aria of the opera, which was probably not even written by Monteverdi but is a later addition.

That being said there is a lot to enjoy here, but it just did not impress me as much, the pace of the opera is quite slow, and the plot even though it is interesting it does not dazzle. The story of the illicit loves of Nero and Poppea is quite a daring one particularly in the way Monteverdi wrote it, seemingly rewarding vice with love.

The audiences in Venice would be aware however that the story does not quite end there, so it isn't as brave as one might think at first. Still it is pretty good I just like L'Orfeo and Ulisse better.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The opera takes Poppaea Sabina, the second wife of the Roman Emperor Nero, as the heroine of the plot. L'incoronazione di Poppea is Monteverdi's last opera, showing his maturity. The plot by Busenello is a masterwork of irony, on the face of it showing the apparent triumph of Amore over Virtu and Fortuna as promised by the prologue. However, the educated audience of the day would have been aware of the pregnant Poppea's subsequent murder by Nero in a fit of rage. Nero is later succeeded by Ottone as emperor: Poppea could have achieved her objective without tragedy simply by having remained faithful to Ottone in the first place.

It is believed that the opera's florid closing duet between Nerone and Poppea was written not by Monteverdi but by another composer (Benedetto Ferrari).

Pur Ti Miro, the closing of the opera:

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