The Monteverdi 450 project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the trilogy of extant Monteverdi operas arduously and lavishly prepared by a pioneering conductor who is regarded as an icon of early music scholarship.
Although Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) has long been recognized as the father of opera, only three of his contributions to the form survive. 2017 marks the 450th anniversary of the Venetian master’s birth, and to celebrate this musical milestone, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir, and the English Baroque Soloists have announced an ambitious international tour, with concert performances of all three operas – L’Orfeo, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, andL’incoronazione di Poppea – in the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, and the USA, with the Harris Theater being its U.S. Premiere.
L'incoronazione di Poppea
In the Heavens, Virtue and Fortune are arguing over who between them is the most powerful. Amore (Love) interrupts to assert that it is he who reigns in heaven and on earth and wagers that he can defeat both of them.
Ottone, Poppea’s lover, returns after a long absence to find her having an affair with the Emperor Nero. Ignoring the advice of his tutor Seneca, Nero vows to leave his wife, the Empress Ottavia to install Poppea on the throne. Seneca angers Nero in trying to dissuade him. Nero orders Seneca to commit suicide.
Ottavia persuades Ottone to assassinate Poppea. Drusilla, in love with Ottone, lends him her clothing as a disguise. Just as Ottone is about to stab the sleeping Poppea, Amore intervenes and Drusilla is accused of the attempted murder. Ottavia is revealed to have plotted the crime, freeing Nero to send his wife into exile and crown Poppea as the new Empress.