MONTEVERDI AT SEVENTY-FOUR YEARS OF AGE BRINGS FORTH AN OPERA FULL OF YOUTH AND VITALITY!
Almost four decades before creating his Poppea, Monteverdi wrote in the preface of his fifth book of madrigals: "The modern composer must create works solely on the basis of the truth"-a credo to which the music of his final opera is utterly faithful. 'L'incoronazione di Poppea' is a potent work from opera's first true creator and pioneering genius.
Even after three centuries, the music of Monteverdi glows with the passionate genius of a musical prophet. He was far ahead of his day in his conception of music as a dramatic, expressive art and in the realization of that conception.
He spurned the dry recitativos common to the opera of the day and instead gave the singers lovely melodies to sing. Short song-like passages were also included in the orchestral score. This opera demonstrates well these traits of Monteverdi. EXAMPLE: the enchanting melody that recurs in Drusilla's song that I call her 'happy' tune because she sings it first after Ottone tells her that he desires her instead of Poppea; unfortunately not true, but for the moment she believes it. There are several tuneful melodies that become asociated with specific characters.
The entire production is well done, and the specific characters perform with vigor and vitality and mega drama. The cast includes: Cynthia Haymon (Poppea)gives an exciting portrayal in her role as the 'greedy' gal who wants to become Empress at any cost to anybody. Brigitte Balleys in a 'pants' role of Nerone does it well, but I must confess I am 'put off' by most 'pants' roles (forgive me please); Michael Chance in the role of Ottone, Poppea's rejected suitor, provides us with an excellent portrayal of the rejected and angry lover; Seneca played by the 'booming' voice of Harry van der Kamp (love that voice)is full of himself as the advisor to Nerone; a sweet-voiced Heidi Grant Murphy plays her role (Drusilla) as the dedicated follower of Ottone. Ning Liang in the role of the Empress, who is about to be discarded, is truly magnificent with her rich resonant voice, handles all of her many moods (anger, revenge, despair, hatred, bullying) with finesse. All the singers are skilled and experienced in this genre, and it shows!
Monteverdi's timeless masterpiece, which creates a deep involvement in performers and audiences alike, is brilliantly captured in this High Definition LIVE recording of Pierre Audi's moving and beautifully styled production from Amsterdam in 1994. Sung in Italian with English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch subtitles, it also includes an illustrated synopsis, cast gallery and introduction. Picture and sound par excellence.
The youth and vitality that shines forth throughout this opera is remarkable, emanating as they do from a seventy-four year old churchmen.
SUNDAY TIMES: "Amsterdam has a model opera company: fresh, controversial and accessible...this Poppea is a quality product of self-evidently world class distinction.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE: THIS DVD IS NOT A GLYNDEBOURNE PRODUCTION; THIS IS THE NEDERSLANDS OPERA COMPANY. SO SEVERAL OF THESE REVIEWS DO NOT APPLY TO THIS DVD. AMAZON REALLY DOESN'T KNOW WHATS UP MOST OF THE TIME!!!!!TALK ABOUT CONFUSING THE BUYER!!!!!!