John Eliot Gardiner with the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloist celebrate the 450th birthday of the 17th century genius and founding father of the opera.
There is little doubt that the novelty of his works surpassed the art of his ancestors and that Monteverdi thus initiated a new age of music. Monteverdi was always fascinated by man's passions and devoted his entire life to developing techniques to translate them into music. Thus he can be directly compared with the greatest artists and scientists of the early 17th century, such as Galileo, Bacon, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Caravaggio and Rubens.
The top-class ensemble consists of internationally renowned soloists as well as members of the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists. Under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the three great Monteverdi operas are performed and semi-concerted by Elsa Rooke. The orchestra, which uses historical instruments from Monteverdi's time, plays a central role, as it is placed on stage and integrated into the plot.
The highlight of this international tour, which runs from April to October 2017, is the performances at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice as well as at the Salzburg Festival, the Berliner Festspiele and the Lucerne Festival.
In front of Poppea's house, Ottone confesses his love for Poppea, who is Nerone's lover and hopes to become empress. Nerone's wife Ottavia laments her fate, and Seneca cannot comfort her. When he tries to dissuade Nerone from raising Poppea to empress, he draws the wrath of the ruler. In Poppea's garden, Nerone vows to crown her lover. She advises to kill Seneca. Again she rejects Ottone, and he decides to reward Drusilla's faithful love. In his country house Seneca receives the news that Nerone demands his death. He reassures his friends and fulfils the emperor's order. In the imperial palace, Ottavia orders Ottone to kill her rival Poppea. After a long procrastination, Ottone decides to kill the sleeping Poppea in her garden, but Drusilla snatches the dagger from him and is suspected of murdering herself. Drusilla takes all the blame before Nerone to save Ottone. However, he explains the true facts. He is expelled and Drusilla accompanies him. Ottavia's guilt for the planned murder finally gives Nerone the right to expel the wife and crown Poppea in her place.