Monteverdi's Last Operas: A Venetian Trilogy / Edition 1

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Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) was the first important composer of opera. This innovative study by one of the foremost experts on Monteverdi and seventeenth-century opera examines the composer's celebrated final works—Il ritorno d'Ulisse (1640) and L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642)—from a new perspective. Ellen Rosand considers these works as not merely a pair but constituents of a trio, a Venetian trilogy that, Rosand argues, properly includes a third opera, Le nozze d'Enea (1641). Although its music has not survived, its chronological placement between the other two operas opens new prospects for better understanding all three, both in their specifically Venetian context and as the creations of an old master. A thorough review of manuscript and printed sources of Ritorno and Poppea, in conjunction with those of their erstwhile silent companion, offers new possibilities for resolving the questions of authenticity that have swirled around Monteverdi's last operas since their discovery in the late nineteenth century. Le nozze d'Enea also helps to explain the striking differences between the other two, casting new light on their contrasting moral ethos: the conflict between a world of emotional propriety and restraint and one of hedonistic abandon.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A strong contribution."—Opera Journal
Opera Journal - Edward Rutschman
“A strong contribution.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520249349
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 12/3/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 474
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Rosand is George A. Saden Professor of Music at Yale and author of Opera in Seventeenth Century VeBérénice: The Creation of a Genre (UC Press, 1991, 2007).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
List of Musical Examples
Editorial Procedure

1 Orpheus in VeBérénice
A New Ulysses
The Myth of VeBérénice

2 Discoveries and Reception

3 Sources and Authenticity: Three Librettos
Il ritorno d'Ulisse
Le nozze d'Enea
L'incoronazione di Poppea

4 Two Scores
Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria
L'incoronazione di Poppea

5 Ancients and Moderns
A Question of Genre
Five Acts or Three
Modern Taste

6 A Master of Three Servants
Monteverdi’s Way with Words
Speech and Song, Recitative and Aria
The Role of Meter
Fashioning the “Just Lament”: Arianna’s Venetian Progeny

7 Constructions of Character
Shaping an Epic or Rewriting Penelope
The Wily Hero
Deepening a Psychological Drama

8 The Parasite and the Philosopher
Heroic Pedant, Ambiguous Philosopher
Tragic Buffoon
Directors and Critics
Music and Text
Post Mortem

9 Epilogue

1. Giacomo Badoaro, Il ritorno d’Ulisse, preface
2. Argomento et Scenario delle Nozze d’Enea in Lavinia
3. Giacomo Badoaro, Ulisse errante, preface
4. L’incoronazione di Poppea: argomento, scenario, preface
5. Il ritorno d’Ulisse: Badoaro’s argomento compared with Dolce's Allegorie and Dolce's argomenti compared with Badoaro’s structure
6. Le nozze d’Enea e Lavinia: scenario compared with Dolce’s allegories
7. Supernatural scenes
8. Singers



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