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Monteverdi: L'Incoronazione di Poppea -- Glyndebourne [DVD] [2004] [2001]

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5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Sir Peter Hall created this production of Monteverdi's sensuous masterpiece for Glyndebourne Festival Opera's 50th Anniversary season in 1984. L'Incoronazione di Poppea, first seen in Glyndebourne in 1962, was the first Baroque opera to be performed there and has been an important influence on the renewed current interest in early opera.

American soprano Maria Ewing gives a voluptous portrayal of the scheming Poppea, with Dennis Bailey as Nero and Robert Lloyd outstanding as the philosopher Seneca.

Cast: Poppea -- Maria Ewing
Nerone -- Dennis Bailey
Robert Lloyd -- Seneca
Drusilla -- Elizabeth Gale
Arnalta -- Anne-Marie Owens
The Glyndebourne Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchesta
Conducted by Raymond Leppard

From Amazon.co.uk

Peter Hall's lavishly staged L'Incoronazione di Poppea celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Glyndebourne in 1984 with a performance of Monteverdi's most celebrated and also most controversial opera. The score is conductor Raymond Leppard's "enhanced" edition, which he had premiered at Glyndebourne back in 1962, fully scored for a large orchestra. Much debate circles around the forces appropriate for performing Monteverdi's decidedly minimalist work, but one thing at least is certain: it didn't sound anything like this in the 17th century! Never mind, however inauthentic it may be, Leppard's big and beefy orchestral updating--including a fulsome continuo group with pairs of harpsichords, organs and cellos, as well as lute, guitar and harp--supports the weighty melodrama nicely.

The singers, too, are full-bodied, led by a fruity Maria Ewing as Poppea (in various revealing outfits) sounding suitably seductive, and Dennis Bailey, oddly lovely of voice as Nero (one of the opera's controversial aspects is the heroic central role accorded to these two thoroughly wicked characters). Perhaps best of all is Robert Lloyd as Seneca, who not only boasts a profound, reverberant bass, but also looks the part under beard and toga. With an onstage chorus to lament him, Seneca's death scene is the most moving in the opera. Peter Hall's clever staging keeps the Olympians--Love, Fortune and Virtue--permanently watching from above as the venal humans below act out this tragedy of poisoned love. The no-frills DVD has subtitles in English, French, German and Spanish. --Mark Walker

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