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Claudio Cavina - Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea

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Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea

Giovanni Francesco Busenello - Claudio Monteverdi

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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 performance really takes off when the principals make their entrances, and by the third scene, the erotically charged bedroom interaction with Poppea and Nero, the listener is likely to be swept up in the musical excitement and drama. Among the fabulous soloists, almost all of whom are simply outstanding, Roberta Mameli as Nero, Emanuela Galli as Poppea, Ian Honeyman as Arnalta, Xenia Meijer as Ottavia, Francesca Cassinari as Drusilla, Alena Dantcheva as Valetto, and Pamela Lucciarini as Damigella make especially vivid impressions. The only weak link is Raffaele Costantini's underpowered Seneca. The opera requires performers to make difficult editorial decisions because it exists in two very different versions, a "clean" copy of the score from Naples, and a performing score from Venice full of annotations and revisions, and neither is the original manuscript. (Neither, in fact, even definitively identifies Monteverdi as the composer.) Cavina works from the Naples version. Most significantly, he performs Act I, scene 11, exactly as written. A strophic song with a ritornello and alternating verses for Ottone and Poppea, its verses for Ottone are written in a key eccentrically distant from that of the ritornello and of Poppea's verses. Most modern performances follow the directions from the Venice version, in which a note in the hand of composer Francesco Cavalli instructs the performers to transpose Ottone's part to a more conventional key. The visceral punch the "unimproved" version delivers is a powerful musical illustration of the emotional chasm between Ottone and Poppea and is evidence that the composer may have actually known what he was doing. Cavina makes a few inoffensive editorial changes, adding some brief instrumental sinfonias, mostly by Cavalli, that were needed to cover scene changes in the staged performances. Glossa's sound is immaculate, warm, and present. Highly recommended.
© TiVo

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Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea

Claudio Cavina

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1
Sinfonia
Ian Honeyman
00:01:34

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

2
Prologue: Amore: Deh, nasconditi, oh Virtu (Fortuna, Virtu)
Ian Honeyman
00:06:29

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

3
Act I Scene 1: E pure io tonrno qui, qual linea al centro (Fortuna)
Ian Honeyman
00:06:30

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

4
Act I Scene 2: Chi parla? Chi parla? (Ottone, Soldati)
Ian Honeyman
00:04:52

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

5
Act I Scene 3: Signor, deh, non partire! (Poppea, Nerone)
Ian Honeyman
00:09:55

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

6
Act I Scene 4: Speranza tu mi vai (Poppea, Arnalta)
Ian Honeyman
00:08:12

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

7
Act I Scene 5: Disprezzata Regina (Ottavia, Nutrice)
Ian Honeyman
00:10:11

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

8
Act I Scene 6: Ecco la sconsolata donna (Seneca, Ottavia, Valletto)
Ian Honeyman
00:08:32

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

9
Act I Scenes 7-8: Le porpore regali imperatrici (Seneca, Pallade)
Ian Honeyman
00:03:10

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

10
Act I Scene 9: Son risoluto, insomma (Nerone, Seneca)
Ian Honeyman
00:04:30

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

11
Act I Scene 10: Come dolci, signor, come soavi (Poppea, Nerone)
Ian Honeyman
00:09:26

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

DISC 2

1
Act I Scene 11: Ad altri tocca in sorte (Ottone, Poppea, Arnalta)
Ian Honeyman
00:08:22

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

2
Act I Scenes 12-13: Otton, torna in te stesso! (Ottone, Drusilla)
Ian Honeyman
00:07:36

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

3
Act II Scenes 1-2: Solitudine amata (Seneca, Mercurio)
Ian Honeyman
00:08:53

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

4
Act II Scene 3: Amici, e giunta l'ora (Seneca, Famigliari)
Ian Honeyman
00:05:35

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

5
Act II Scene 5: Sento un certo non se che (Valletto, Damigella)
Ian Honeyman
00:05:40

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

6
Act II Scene 6: Or che Seneca e morto (Nerone, Lucano)
Ian Honeyman
00:07:52

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

7
Act II Scene 8: I mieli subiti sdegni (Ottone)
Ian Honeyman
00:04:24

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

8
Act II Scene 9: Tu che dagli avi miei (Ottavia, Ottone)
Ian Honeyman
00:05:53

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

9
Act II Scene 10: Felice cor mio, festeggiami in seno! (Drusilla, Valletto
Ian Honeyman
00:04:57

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

10
Act II Scene 11: Io non so dov'io vada (Ottone, Drusilla)
Ian Honeyman
00:04:52

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

DISC 3

1
Act II Scene 12: Or che Seneca e morto (Poppea, Arnalta)
Ian Honeyman
00:09:57

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

2
Act II Scene 13: Dorme, l'incauta dorme (Amore)
Ian Honeyman
00:02:17

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

3
Act II Scenes 14-15: Eccomi trasformato (Ottone, Amore, Poppea, Arnalta)
Ian Honeyman
00:04:14

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

4
Act III Scene 1: O felice Drusilla (Drusilla)
Ian Honeyman
00:01:49

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

5
Act III Scenes 2-3: Ecco la scellerata (Arnalta, Littore, Drusilla)
Ian Honeyman
00:05:29

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

6
Act III Scene 4: No, no, questa sentenza (Ottone, Nerone, Drusilla, Litto
Ian Honeyman
00:05:03

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

7
Act III Scene 5: Signori, hoggi rinasco (Poppea, Nerone)
Ian Honeyman
00:05:55

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

8
Act III Scene 6: Oggi sara Poppea (Arnalta)
Ian Honeyman
00:04:59

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

9
Act III Scene 8: Addio Roma! Addio patria! Amici addio! (Ottavia)
Ian Honeyman
00:03:22

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

10
Act III Scene 8: Ascendi, o mia diletta (Nerone, Poppea, Consoli, Tribuni
Ian Honeyman
00:16:59

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

11
Act III Scene 8: Finale: Pur ti miro (Poppea, Nerone)
Ian Honeyman
00:06:54

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - Mario Cecchetti, tenor - Ian Honeyman, tenor - Makoto Sakurada, tenor - Emanuela Galli, soprano - Jose Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano - Claudio Cavina, alto - Andrea Favari, bass - Venexiana, La, Ensemble - Francesca Cassinari, soprano - Giovanni Caccamo, tenor - Alena Dantcheva, soprano - Roberta Mameli, soprano - Xenia Meijer, mezzo-soprano - Raffaele Costantini, bass - Romina Tomasoni, mezzo-soprano

Album Description

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 performance really takes off when the principals make their entrances, and by the third scene, the erotically charged bedroom interaction with Poppea and Nero, the listener is likely to be swept up in the musical excitement and drama. Among the fabulous soloists, almost all of whom are simply outstanding, Roberta Mameli as Nero, Emanuela Galli as Poppea, Ian Honeyman as Arnalta, Xenia Meijer as Ottavia, Francesca Cassinari as Drusilla, Alena Dantcheva as Valetto, and Pamela Lucciarini as Damigella make especially vivid impressions. The only weak link is Raffaele Costantini's underpowered Seneca. The opera requires performers to make difficult editorial decisions because it exists in two very different versions, a "clean" copy of the score from Naples, and a performing score from Venice full of annotations and revisions, and neither is the original manuscript. (Neither, in fact, even definitively identifies Monteverdi as the composer.) Cavina works from the Naples version. Most significantly, he performs Act I, scene 11, exactly as written. A strophic song with a ritornello and alternating verses for Ottone and Poppea, its verses for Ottone are written in a key eccentrically distant from that of the ritornello and of Poppea's verses. Most modern performances follow the directions from the Venice version, in which a note in the hand of composer Francesco Cavalli instructs the performers to transpose Ottone's part to a more conventional key. The visceral punch the "unimproved" version delivers is a powerful musical illustration of the emotional chasm between Ottone and Poppea and is evidence that the composer may have actually known what he was doing. Cavina makes a few inoffensive editorial changes, adding some brief instrumental sinfonias, mostly by Cavalli, that were needed to cover scene changes in the staged performances. Glossa's sound is immaculate, warm, and present. Highly recommended.
© TiVo

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The Italian violinist and conductor Fabio Biondi, notably famous for his rendition of the Four Seasons by Vivaldi with his ensemble Europa Galante, is one of the musicians who actively spurns the idea of separating and compartmentalising music. We take a look back at the career of one of the most versatile and open-minded classical musicians of our time, and an essential figure of baroque violin.

Jonas Kaufmann in 10 Key Albums

With his flattering physique reminiscent of a handsome romantic, German Jonas Kaufmann has successfully modernised the image of opera tenors, long considered as unrepentant tumblers… Beyond his powerful and versatile voice, Jonas Kaufmann possesses an immense repertoire in several languages, masters all styles of opera, from Wagner to Verdi or Puccini, and sings the lied or the French opera to perfection. A great admirer of Fritz Wunderlich, he started his career “the old fashioned way”, in a company touring around small German theatres before taking off on his own towards a prodigious career. After a chaotic year in 2017 due to a ruptured blood vessel on his vocal chords, Jonas Kaufmann seems to have fully recovered and is working on countless new projects. Qobuz looks back on his career, highlighting 10 albums.

Beethoven: Fidelio's Big Adventure

Based on a story from France during the Revolutionary Terror (the story of an intrepid young woman who disguised herself as a man to save her husband from the dungeon), Beethoven's unique opera has had a turbulent life, and has been reworked here and there over the years. New proof of the German composer's musical genius, Fidelio also permitted him to write a musical setting for a libretto that matched his political beliefs.

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