|The coronation of Poppea|
|The coronation of Poppea|
|Acts||3 acts, with a prologue|
|Based on||Tacitus : Annals , Book XIV; Suetonius and perhaps Seneca [ 1 ]|
|Premiere location||San Giovanni e Paolo Theater ( Venice )|
|Bookseller||Giovanni Francesco Busenello|
|Duration||3 hours 30 minutes [ 4 ]|
The Coronation of Popea (original title in Italian , L'incoronazione di Poppea ) is a serious opera in three acts with music by Claudio Monteverdi and libretto in Italian by Giovanni Francesco Busenello .
The main sources for the story told in Busenello's libretto are the Annals of Tacitus ; Suetonius's story book 6 The Twelve Caesars ; books 61–62 of the Roman History of Cassius Dio ; and an anonymous work Octavia (once attributed to the real Seneca ), from which the fictional characters of ayas from the opera would derive. [ 5 ] [ 6 ] The claim of Coronation is the first set opera in history and not in a mythical age is compromised by the apparitions of the Roman gods, who initiate the action and intervene or comment in later moments; But the story is based on real people, and it refers to real events. [ 7 ]
Departing from traditional literary morality, it is the adulterous relationship between Poppea and Nero that triumphs, although this victory will prove historically transitory and superficial. Furthermore, in Busenello's version of the story all the main characters are morally compromised. Written when the opera genre was only a few decades old, the music of The Coronation of Poppea has been praised for its originality, its melody, and for its reflection of the human attributes of its characters. The play helped redefine the boundaries of theatrical music, and established Monteverdi as the most prominent musical playwright of his day.
When the world's first public opera opened in Venice in 1637 in San Cassiano , Monteverdi, then in his seventies, decided to return to large-scale opera for the carnival season of 1639 with new commercial operas such as Il ritorno and L 'Arianna for the Teatro San Moisè . [ 8 ]
The Coronation of Poppea was premiered in 1642 at the Teatro San Giovanni e Paolo (called Teatro Grimani) in Venice , as part of the carnival season of 1642-43. This is Monteverdi's last opera, in which he shows his maturity as a composer. Neither the date of its first performance nor the number of times the work was performed is not known with certainty; the only date that remains is that of the beginning of the carnival, December 26, 1642. Only the identity of one of the premiere interpreters is known: Anna Renzi , who played Octavia. Renzi, in her twenties, is described by Ringer as "the first prima donna of opera" [ 9 ]And was, according to a contemporary source, "as gifted at acting as excellent at music." [ 10 ] Based on the opera cast that shared the theater with The Coronation during the 1642–43 season, it is possible that Poppea was performed by Anna di Valerio, and Nero by Castrato Stefano Costa. [ 5 ]
Only one old revival of The Coronation has been documented , in Naples in 1651. The fact that it was revived is noted by Carter as "remarkable, in an age when memory was short and large-scale musical works often had a circulation. limited beyond your immediate circumstances. " [ 11 ] Then there are no more documented performances in the next 250 years. [ 12 ]
After two centuries in which Monteverdi had been largely forgotten as an opera composer, interest in his theatrical works revived in the late 19th century. In 1905, in Paris, the French composer Vincent d'Indy conducted a concert performance of The Coronation , limiting himself to "the most beautiful and interesting parts of the work." D'Indy's edition was published in 1908, and his version was performed at the Théâtre des Arts , Paris, February 5, 1913, the first theatrical interpretation documented since 1651. [ 12 ] [ 13 ]
In April 1926 the German-born composer Werner Josten conducted the first American performance at Smith College , Massachusetts where he was a music teacher. [ 14 ] The following year, on October 27, it had its UK premiere, with a performance at Oxford Town Hall by members of the Oxford University Opera Club . [ 15 ]
Until performances in the 1960s, The Coronation was relatively rare in commercial opera houses, but they became more frequent in the decade that saw the 400th anniversary of Monteverdi's birth. The 350th anniversary of Monteverdi's death, celebrated in 1993, sparked a wave of renewed interest in his work, and since then performances of The Coronation have exploded in opera houses and music festivals around the world.
This opera is still in the repertoire, although it is not among the most represented; in statistics Operabase the # 78 operas hundred most represented in the period 2005-2010, being the 32nd appears in Italy and second Monteverdi 50 representations.
The goddesses of Fortune and Virtue dispute which of them has greater power among humans. They are interrupted by the god of Love, who claims he has more power than either of the other two: "I tell the virtues what to do, I rule the fortunes of men." When they have heard this story, he says, they will admit their higher powers.
In the opera, the heroine is Sabina Poppea , second wife of the Roman Emperor Nero . The seductive, unscrupulous and ambitious Poppea, protected by the divinity Amor, wants to be crowned Empress of Rome and for this she must marry the Emperor Nero, with whom she is in love. The opera presents us with a succession of intrigues with which he manages to overcome the obstacles that stand in his way.
Otón arrives at the town of Popea, pretending to continue with his love. Seeing the house guarded by the emperor Nero's soldiers, he realizes that he has been replaced, and his love song turns into a lament: There , there, perfidy Poppea! - "Ah, ah, perfidious Poppea!" He leaves, and the waiting soldiers gossip about their lord's love affairs, his neglect of affairs of state, and his treatment of Empress Octavia. Nero and Poppea enter and exchange words of love before Nero leaves. Arnalta, Popea's nurse, warns her to beware of the empress's anger and to distrust Nero's apparent love, but Poppea is confident: Non temo di noia alcuna - "I fear no evil."
The scene changes to the palace, where Octavia mourns her fate ( Regina disprezzata, of the Roman monarch afflita moglie! - "Scorned queen, of the Roman monarch grieving wife!" Her nurse suggests that she take a lover herself, advice that Octavia angrily rejects Seneca, Nero's former tutor, addresses the empress with flattering words, and Valleto, Octavia's page, taunts him, threatening to set the old man's beard on fire. Alone, Seneca receives the warning from the goddess Pallas of that his life is in danger. Nero enters and confides to him that he intends to displace Octavia and marry Poppea. Seneca objects; such an act would be unpopular. From the Senato del Popolo non curo- "I am not worried about the senate or the people," Nero replies, and when the wise man insists, he is fired furiously. Poppea joins Nero, and tells him that Seneca claims power behind the imperial throne. This angers Nero to the point of ordering his guards to force Seneca to commit suicide.
After Nero leaves, Otón goes ahead and fails to convince Poppea to return his affection, privately decides to kill her. A noblewoman comforts him, Drusilla; Realizing that he will never get Poppea back, he offers to marry Drusilla, who happily accepts him. But Otto recognizes before himself Drusilla ho in bocca ed ho Poppea nel chorus - "Drusilla is on my lips, and Poppea in my heart."
In his garden, the god Mercury discovers Seneca who will soon die. Nero's order arrives, and Seneca instructs his friends to prepare the suicide bath for him. His followers try to convince him to stay alive, but he rejects their pleas ( In un tepido rivo questo sangue innocente ch'io vo ', vo' che vada a imporporarmi del muerte la strada - "The warm current of my innocent blood will mark with purple real my way to death "). In the palace Octavia's page flirts with a lady-in-waiting. The death of the philosopher, surrounded by his disciples and friends, fills Nero with joy, who celebrates it by getting drunk with the poet Lucanus. They compose love songs in honor of Poppea.
Elsewhere in the palace Otto, in a long soliloquy, ponders how he could have thought of killing Poppea whom he still loves desperately. He is interrupted by a call from Octavia, who to his anguish orders him to kill Poppea. Threatening to report him to Nero unless he carries out her wishes, she suggests that he disguise himself as a woman to accomplish the feat. Otto agrees, privately crying out to the gods to spare his life. She then convinces Drusilla to leave her clothes for her and disguises herself in feminine clothing.
In the garden of the village of Poppea, Arnalta sings to her mistress while she sleeps, with the god of Love watching. Otho, now disguised as Drusilla, enters the garden and raises his sword to kill Poppea. However, Amor intervenes and prevents the crime by removing the sword from his hand; run away. Arnalta and Poppea, already awake, see him running and think it is Drusilla. They call their servants to pursue the chase, while Love triumphantly sings Ho diffesa Poppea, Poppea! - "I have defended Poppea, Poppea!"
Drusilla reflects on the life of happiness before her, when Arnalta arrives with a lictor . Arnalta accuses Drusilla of having assaulted Poppea, and is arrested. When Nero enters, Arnalta denounces Drusilla, who protests that he is innocent. Threatened with torture unless she reveals her accomplices, Drusilla decides to protect Otho by confessing her own guilt. Nero orders him to have a painful death, at which point Otto steps forward and reveals the truth: that he had acted alone, at the command of Empress Octavia, and that Drusilla is innocent of complicity. Nero is impressed by the strength of Drusilla, and in an act of clemency spares Otto's life, ordering his exile. Drusilla chooses exile by his side.
But the discovery of Octavia's plot leads to her repudiation by Nero, who forces her to go into exile. This leaves him free to marry Poppea, who is enchanted ( Non più s'interporrà noia o dimora - "No delay, no obstacle can come between us now").
Octavia says a serene farewell to Rome, while the coronation ceremony for Poppea is being prepared in the palace's throne room. The consuls and tribunes enter, and after a brief eulogy, Poppea is crowned Empress of Rome. Looking at him from above, are the god of Love and his mother, Venus and a divine choir. The work closes with a duet of Nero and Poppea in which the triumph of love is enshrined ( Pur ti miro, pur ti godo - "I look at you, I possess you").
The Coronation of Poppea was the first opera based on a historical event and the greatest of Claudio Monteverdi's works.
The central theme is the triumphant love of Nero and Poppea, even at the cost of virtue . It is disconcerting, even from the current criteria, to contemplate the cynical amorality of Poppea, who achieves her goal of consecrating herself empress, causing on the way the death of Seneca and the exile of Octavia and her former husband Otón. This can be explained by the fact that Busnello, a member of the aristocratic and libertine Accademia degli Incogniti , wrote an ironic libretto on a subject known to seventeenth-century Venetian audiences, probably familiar with the tale of Tacitus and the life of Seneca. . That public must have known that, according to this historical account, Poppea would die at the hands of Nero and Otto would succeed him as emperor of Rome.
Both Busenello and Monteverdi demonstrate their ability to describe the psychology of each of the characters through music and text.
While instrumental passages are included, much of the score consists of recitatives, not a swift speech over a basic harmonic accompaniment in the style of Mozart operas, but actual musical scores entirely written by Monteverdi, where the voice sings instead of speaking. and style and harmony accompany the emotions and transformations of the characters.
One of the most famous passages is the final duet between Nero and Poppea ( Pur ti miro, pur ti godo ). This aria is believed to have been written by Benedetto Ferrari .
- Portal: Classical music . Classical Music related content .
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- The Visual Guide to the Opera notes high .
- José María Martín Triana: The opera book , second reprint in "The pocket book", 1992, Alianza Editorial, ISBN 84-206-0284-1 .
- Riding, Alan; Dunton-Downer, Leslie (2008). Visual guides Sword: Opera (1st edition). Espasa Calpe, SA ISBN 978-84-670-2605-4 .
- Rosand, Ellen: The Coronation of Poppea , Oxford Music Online, 2007.
- Ringer, p. 215
- Arnold, Denis: "Claudio Monteverdi" en New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, pág. 527, Macmillan, Londres, 1980. ISBN 0-333-23111-2
- Ringer, pp. 137–38
- Ringer, p. 132
- Ringer, p. 238
- Carter (2002), p. 4
- "Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia" . Archived from the original on December 7, 2015 . Retrieved November 2, 2011 .
- Carter (2002), p. 6
- Carter (2002), p. 8
- Stuart, Robert: "Busenello's Libretto to Monteverde's The Coronation of Poppea"  , The Musical Times, 1-10-1927
- Cited sources
- Carter, Tim: Monteverdi's Musical Theatre, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2002. ISBN 0-300-09676-3
- Ringer, Mark: Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi, Amadeus Press, Newark N.J., 2006. ISBN 1-57467-110-3