Last week I had the opportunity to share something extraordinary with a very special person.
When asked what my favorite genre of music is I always pause for self consciousness; it’s baroque, especially early baroque. I’m not sure that that this is the most expected answer but it’s the truth. I love drama and over complication and baroque music serves both in spades. I may be biased as a violinist but I have plenty of happy memories of listening to fussy pieces or preforming operas during my high school years. When it comes to my two favorite composers I adore both Claudio Monteverdi and Henry Purcell, both very unique within the realm of baroque but both are typically ascribed to the genre. But this is about Monteverdi.
Monteverdi is a late Renaissance/Early Baroque composer who used elements of both eras (like the sweet, sweet, renaissance polyphony) to create his works. He wrote some of the earliest operas which are still performed today. I fell in love with his madrigals and fell more in love with his work when my high school did a small production of L’Orfeo.
I was lucky enough to spend an evening sharing Monteverdi’s L'incoronazione di Poppea which I had never seen before. The story is about Emperor Nero and his lover Poppea and the misdeeds that lead to his queen being cast from the kingdom allowing them to live happily ever after. Unexpected, yes, but rather appropriate considering me and my guest. It was drawn out and far from succinct but it had many great musical moments that reminded me why I love this composer so much What amused me the most was how many roles were for countertenors. I’m well aware of the tradition of castrati but I felt pretty silly realizing that perhaps my choral director chose his works to perform because as per many high schools, girls in the performing arts vastly outnumbered the boys. Here I was thinking we were just making do, how silly.
It was however, really exciting to share something so special to me with someone else. Despite it not being of a necessarily intimate nature I still felt very vulnerable sharing my favorite composer with someone who had never gone to an opera or an orchestral performance before. I certainly can’t wait t to see more performances by Boston Baroque and can’t wait to share more of my favorites with you <3