- L'incoronazione di Poppea, opera in 3 acts, SV 308
Although there had been sporadic performances of the operas of Monteverdi in the 20th century, Raymond Leppard was instrumental in bringing them, as well as the operas of Cavalli, to the sustained attention of broad audiences, and for that, music lovers will forever be in his debt. The modern Monteverdi renaissance began with Leppard's introduction of "The Coronation of Poppea" at the 1962 Glyndebourne Festival, and this recording of the opera, in the English translation of Geoffrey Dunn, comes from a live 1971 performance at the London Coliseum, featuring the Sadler's Wells Opera Chorus and Orchestra, with Janet Baker in the title role. This historically significant performance is likely to be of most interest to fans of Baker, who sings with luminous tone, and to scholars of the evolution of trends in historically informed performance practice. Clifford Grant is fully convincing in projecting Seneca's gravity and authority. John Brecknock and Iris Saunders are especially effective as Valletto and Damigella, and Anne Collins is very fine as Arnalta, as is Elizabeth Gale as Love. The sound of the BBC broadcast is relatively clean for a live performance of its period.