Almost four decades before creating his Poppea, Monteverdi wrote in the preface to his fifth book of madrigals: 'The modern composer must create his works solely on the basis of the truth', a credo to which the music of his final opera is utterly faithful. Poppea is a potent work from opera's first true creator and pioneering genius. The fact that, at the close of this highly charged dramma in musica , he allows evil to triumph over good (albeit temporarily) has frequently led to his being decried as amoral. Monteverdi's timeless masterpiece, which creates a deep involvement in performers and audiences alike, is brilliantly captured in this live recording of Pierre Audi's moving and beautifully styled production from Het Muziektheater Amsterdam in 1994. Sung in Italian with English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch subtitles.
Poppea: Cynthia Haymon Nerone: Brigitte Balleys Ottavia: Ning Liang Ottone: Michael Chance Seneca: Harry van der Kamp Drusilla: Heidi Grant Murphy Arnalta: Jean-Paul Fouchécourt Nutrice: Dominique Visse Valletto: Claron McFadden
Les Talens Lyriques Musical director: Christophe Rousset Stage director: Pierre Audi
In Sir Peter Hall's Glyndebourne Festival Opera staging (from 1984) of Monteverdi's magnificent final opera about the love affair between Emperor Nero and the sultry Poppea--as Sir Peter recounts in a short introduction--the world of ancient Rome is shown through the prism of the Renaissance, when Monteverdi composed it. Sir Peter's clever conceit works because the Renaissance-era costumes seamlessly blend with the set design, which is vague enough to suggest both the ancient time of the story and what was then Monteverdi's modern era.
The performance itself has splendid touches. Maria Ewing, then at her considerable vocal and dramatic peak, makes a wonderfully silky Poppea: it's easy to see why Nero (well sung, if too obviously enacted, by Dennis Bailey) has the hots for her against all morality and common sense. Raymond Leppard conducts a freshly enervating account of Monteverdi's score, which remains one of the true glories of the Baroque era. Note: the video box states 120 minutes, but the performance actually lasts 150 minutes. --Kevin Filipski
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.