Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (15 May 1567 (baptized) – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, gambist, singer and Roman Catholic priest.
Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition – the heritage of Renaissance polyphony and the new basso continuo technique of the Baroque. Monteverdi wrote one of the earliest operas, L'Orfeo, an innovative work that is still regularly performed. He was recognized as an innovative composer and enjoyed considerable fame in his lifetime…
“Raymond Leppard's edition of Poppea, first staged at Glyndebourne in 1962, opened many people's eyes and ears to Monteverdi for the first time. By 1984, though, when Glyndebourne mounted this new production, his Respighi- isation of Monteverdi's sparse original was distinctly old hat. The allegorical prologue was restored; but as well as the lush string textures there remained the downward transposition of castrato roles and the squeezing of three acts into two. Yet only the most fanatical devotee of historically informed performance could fail to respond to this wonderful production with sumptuous designs by John Bury.
What happens when you bring the worlds of jazz and Monteverdi together? Is there a musical meeting-point where the two can exist? Claudio Cavina clearly has been believing in this possibility for some time (witness some very "modern" moments in his recent Glossa recordings of the Scherzi musicali and L'incoronazione di Poppea). Yet this is not La Venexiana playing jazz: Cavina and his musicians do not change a note of the original scores.
The major debut on Decca DVD of Danielle de Niese. Returning to the opera house where she sang her sensational Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare, Danielle performs the title role in Monteverdi's great opera of lust and power, in Robert Carsen's new, modern-dress staging. De Niese is perfectly cast as the beautiful and seductive Poppea who ruthlessly grabs power as Nero's lover but, in this production, is doomed from the moment of her coronation. De Niese's performance is vocally and dramatically powerful, perfectly complemented by Alice Coote as Nero. The two are supported by an outstanding cast, together with period-performance stars Emmanuelle Haïm conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Carsen creates an intelligent and visually-strong production, focusing on the personal side of the story. At times the action is violent and shocking, but this is juxtaposed with episodes of lightness and humour. Filmed in High Definition Widescreen
This fiery performance of L'incoronazione di Poppea (referred to here as Il Nerone, the title used in Busenello's libretto) is driven by the resonant honesty of the characters' extreme and frequently volatile emotional states, which the soloists convey with singing of exceptional individuality, purity, and tonal beauty. The 2009 recording was made soon after a series of staged performances in France, Germany, and Italy, and it shows; the singers and instrumentalists have the freedom that comes from an easy familiarity with the score and with each other that allows them to perform with a spontaneity that sounds like they are making the music up on the spot. Characterizations are especially strongly drawn, and conductor Claudio Cavina is able to lead the group with the extremely flexible tempos that Monteverdi is known to have advocated. The instrumental ensemble is dominated by plucked strings, so the accompaniment initially sounds somewhat twangy and brittle, but the program notes make a strong case for the historical precedent for the use of these instruments, and the ear eventually adjusts to the sound.
The culmination of a three-year Monteverdi project led by conductor William Christie and director Pier Luigi Pizzi at Madrid's Teatro Réal, L'incoronazione di Poppea brings a potent blend of sex and politics, high drama and comedy. Leading the cast are Danielle de Niese, Philippe Jaroussky, Max Emanuel Cencic and Anna Bonitatibus…
These seven discs recorded between 1995 and 2000 make up a fabulous anthology of early seventeenth-century Italian music. A large number of composers are gathered round the central figure of Claudio Monteverdi; while some of them, like Salomone Rossi, Biagio Marini and Dario Castello, are among the musicians with whom he worked in Mantua or Venice, others illustrate the extraordinary musical creativity of the period, whether it be Sigismondo d’India, Tarquinio Merula, Francesco Cavalli, Alessandro Grandi, or so many other lesser-known personalities, each of whom helped to build the rapidly growing edifice of Italian Baroque music.