The Operas of Monteverdi
Monteverdi’s 1607 version of the legend of Orpheus is arguably the first masterpiece of opera. Composed for the court of Mantua, where Monteverdi was employed, it is very different from his two other surviving operas, which he wrote more than thirty years later to entertain Venetian audiences in the first public opera houses. Orfeo was long considered untranslatable, because the text is so closely tied to the music, and the Venetian librettos owe some of their brilliance to Spanish Golden Age theatre. This opera guide is an opportunity to read all three of Monteverdi’s stage works together, in Anne Ridler’s graceful translations.
Contents: Operas contained in this volume: Orfeo, Il ritorno di Ulisse in patria, L’incoronazione di Poppea; Monteverdi, Opera and History, lain Fenlon; On Translating Opera, Anne Ridler; PART ONE: Mantua; A masterpiece for a Court, John Whenham; Music Examples; ‘Orfeo’: Favola in musica by Alessandro Striggio the Younger; Orfeo: English singing version by Anne Ridler; PART TWO: Venice; Musical Theatre in Venice, Paolo Fabbri; The Spanish Contribution to the Birth of Opera, Jack Sage; Monteverdi Returns to his Homeland, Tim Carter; Musical Examples; ll ritorno d’Ulisse in patria: Dramma in musica by Giacomo Badoaro; The Return of Ulysses: English singing version by Anne Ridler; Public Vice, Private Virtue, lain Fenlon and Peter Miller; Musical Examples; L’incoronazione di Poppea: Opera musicale by Giovanni Francesco Busenello; The Coronation of Poppea: English singing version by Anne Ridler
All these will provide the new opera-goer with food for thought.’
Brilliantly produced and superb value.’
Wholehearted recommendation of this valuable new series.'
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (1567–1643) was an Italian composer, gambist and singer. His work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period.