2017 marks the 450th anniversary of Claudio Monteverdi’s birth
There can be little doubt that the novelty of Monteverdi’s work surpassed the art of his forbears and brought about the dawn of a new age. The repercussions of it are still with us today, and his music has lost none of its power and expressive force. A student and codifier of human passions, Monteverdi spent a lifetime exploring all conceivable techniques in which these could be captured in music.
He therefore invites direct comparison with the greatest artists and scientists of his age – Galileo, Bacon, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Caravaggio, Rubens – each one a striking representative of early 17th century genius. 2017 marks the 450th anniversary of Claudio Monteverdi’s birth, known to his more discerning contemporaries as ’oracolo della musica’. From April to October 2017 an international cast of soloists together with members of the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists will perform the surviving trilogy of Monteverdi’s great operas in concert performances directed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
In these performances the orchestra, composed of Monteverdi’s exotic and beautifully crafted period instruments, will take centre-stage and thus form a central part in the story-telling process. Their interaction with the singers will lead us into a world of love, loss, anger, hope and desolation. The operas narrate three individual tales of ancient Greece and Rome, moving from innocence to experience and finally corruption. However, the uniting subtext of all of Monteverdi’s surviving musical dramas is the full unchanging gamut of human emotions – bewildering, passionate, uncomfortable and sometimes uncontrollable. It is Monteverdi’s talent for communicating emotion, and using this as the driving force in his operas, that makes them so powerfully appealing to today’s audiences.
The three Monteverdi ensembles – the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras – are a leading force on the international music scene. World-class musicians and singers from many nationalities come together to share in the distinctive vision of our Founder and Artistic Director, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, in ground-breaking projects that span eight centuries of musical masterpieces. From the monumental to the intimate, from sacred music to opera, from early music to the 20th century, often in unexpected combinations, in each of our projects we strive for excellence.
Possessed of an instantly recognizable core sound, the three ensembles are in constant renewal and evolution. We believe passionately in nurturing future generations of players and singers and developing emerging talent. Through our Monteverdi Apprenticeship Scheme we place young musicians alongside experienced professionals, offering them opportunities to perform at the highest level as both ensemble members and soloists.