Claudio Monteverdi’s 1643 opera, L’incoronazione di Poppea (“The Coronation of Poppaea”), begins with a conflict between mythological deities. Within the prologue which precedes the primary act, the goddesses of Fortune and Advantage every argue that they maintain essentially the most energy over humankind. Quickly, their disagreement is interrupted by the god of Love, who claims the best energy of all, with the daring proclamation, “I inform the virtues what to do, I govern the fortunes of males.”
It’s a actuality which is affirmed within the three-act opera’s rapturous remaining scene. Simply earlier than the ultimate curtain falls, Nero and Poppea sing the love duet, Pur ti miro, pur ti godo (“I gaze upon you, I need you”). When L’incoronazione di Poppea was premiered at Venice’s Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo in the course of the carnival season of 1643, audiences would have recognized the horrors which lurked past this blissful remaining scene. Because the story goes, Nero, Emperor of Rome between 54 and 68 AD, went on to assault the pregnant Poppea in a match of rage, resulting in her loss of life.
Regardless, Pur ti miro, pur ti godo is one in all opera’s most intimate and blissful expressions of romantic love. Occasional aching dissonances soften into sunny parallel thirds. The textual content is passionate and direct:
I am keen on you, I embrace you,
I need you, I enchain you,
no extra grieving, no extra sorrow,
O my dearest, O my beloved.
I’m yours, O my love,
inform me so, you’re mine,
mine alone, O my love.
Really feel my coronary heart, see my love, see.
L’incoronazione di Poppea was Monteverdi’s remaining opera. The composer died some six months after the premiere. Musicologists have speculated that, as a consequence of Monteverdi’s declining well being, the opera was a collaborative effort which can have included Francesco Sacrati, Benedetto Ferrari, and Francesco Cavalli. The youthful “apprentice” composers might have labored underneath Monteverdi’s direct supervision.
In the course of the Baroque interval, male roles had been typically carried out by castrati, who sang in a variety equal to a soprano or mezzo soprano. This 2009 recording options the countertenor, Philippe Jaroussky, and the soprano, Nuria Rial:
This contrasting recording from 1997 options sopranos Elena Cecchi Fedi and Roberta Invernizzi:
- Monteverdi: Pur ti miro (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Philippe Jaroussky, Nuria Rial Amazon
- Monteverdi: Pur ti miro (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Elena Cecchi Fedi, Roberta Invernizzi, Alan Curtis Amazon
Featured Picture: “Capriccio with ruins of the Roman Discussion board” (c. 1634), Claude Lorrain
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