Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Bax Piano Music

Guillaume LEKEU

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Superior performance

Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem Thielemann

Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital

Arnold Bax
Be converted

this terrific disc

John Buckley
one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


Bryden Thomson


Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral




Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643)
L’incoronazione di Poppea [2:49:39]
Anna Caterina Antonacci - Poppea (soprano); Silvia Fichtl - Fortuna, Venus (soprano); Caroline Maria Petrig - Damigella (soprano); Dorothea Röschmann - Drusilla (soprano); Jennifer Trost - Virtù, Pallade (soprano); David Daniels - Nerone (counter-tenor); Axel Köhler - Ottone (counter-tenor); Dominique Visse - Arnalta (counter-tenor); Marita Knobel - Nutrice (alto); Nadja Michael - Ottavia (mezzo); Claes H. Ahnsjö - Lucano, Tribune (tenor); Christian Baungärtel - Valletto (tenor); Hans Jörg Mammel - Liberto, soldier (tenor); Hubert Schmid - Tribune (tenor); Gerhard Auer - Littore, Consul (bass); Kurt Moll - Seneca (bass); Rüdiger Trebes - Consul (bass)
Members of the Bavarian State Orchestra/Ivor Bolton (harpsichord and direction).
rec. live,  July 1997, Prinzregentheater, Munich, Germany. DDD
FARAO CLASSICS B108020 [3 CDs: 78:59 + 53:24 + 36:46] 


Experience Classicsonline

It is the singers, particularly the principals, who make or break this opera. On their shoulders rests the responsibility to articulate and express the intimately human foibles, weaknesses, drives and appetites of the intrigue at a terminally corrupt Roman court of the first century CE. With this recording comes a sense that many of the singers are ‘living up’ to their roles; that they have styles and strengths from outside the ‘early’ music field. In particular, Anna Caterina Antonacci (Poppea), David Daniels (Nero) and Kurt Moll (Seneca) still carry us with them, for the most part, despite an approach that some listeners will find inauthentic and deviant from what is known about Baroque articulation and vocal technique. One would question the over-styled Ottone and the underpowered Ottavia. Dorothea Röschmann’s Drusilla is much more centred and convincing. It won’t come as much of a surprise that Kurt Moll’s Seneca really is what makes this set worthwhile if those reservations get in the way of your enjoyment.

The instrumentalists are more even. It’s a group of ten, some doubling with more than one instrument, of course. Half the group is strings; half continuo. This sounds well and the standard is high. Monteverdi left little indication of which instruments were to play when. So inevitably the responsibility for the colour which they convey is director and harpsichordist Ivor Bolton’s. Fortunately, he was involved closely enough with the origination and refinement of this production to have succeeded in making compelling palettes and moods. 

To concentrate on the text and substance of the drama as Bolton does seems a wise and profitable decision. We are disadvantaged, though, in making an assessment of the production as a whole because we only have the music and none of the staging to respond to on a CD. For this is very much a live recording – from the 1997 Munich Opera Festival. As well as coughs, applause and laughter (though no gasps) there are stage sounds, stage business and stage movements to add to the sense of being present. Indeed, some listeners might find this all rather intrusive, although none of the intensity or beauty of Monteverdi’s amazing score is lost or compromised completely. Our experience of Poppea has been largely of a distilled, somewhat refined psychological study with the Roman ‘atmosphere’ coming out of the larger- than-life characters and the way they respond to situations in which our sensibilities look for parallels with contemporary machinations. 

Peter Jonas, the Bavarian State Opera intendant explains clearly and emphatically in his note in the booklet that in recording this live performance a conscious decision was made to ‘capture’ its excitement and benefits. He lays much of the credit for this at the door of the independent and innovative FARAO label. 

A word must be said about how Poppea has been ‘reconstructed’ here. While we know that it was first staged in Venice in 1643 and was very probably Monteverdi’s last work, we shall never be sure just how much of what we have – including, sadly, the exquisite ‘Pur ti miro’ – may not be by Monteverdi at all. Nor, of course, can we have much idea of the instrumental scoring. This recording seems to stay fairly faithful to what Monteverdi probably intended: sparse, minimal continuo and organ for many of Cupid and Seneca’s scenes. But then the singers and musical momentum had better respect the almost introverted dynamic that this meagreness implies. It’s not at all clear that the singers on this recording have had that uppermost in their minds. A rather flustered irony has trumped restraint in some places. 

It is this feeling of participating in a somewhat raucous burlesque that has been emphasised in this performance as opposed to the more suave and reserved elegance of Gardiner on Archiv (447088) and to the lusher sound of Harnoncourt on Teldec (063010027).

So for collectors of Monteverdi masterpieces this will be a welcome reissue; there is a place for it. Despite its tendency to fussiness, there is a kind of purity. But not a neo-classical one. The effect of this is to force a listener to question some assumptions and accept new lights shining with unconventional colours on the objects beneath. The actual sound of the recording is somewhat boxy; the text in the booklet in Italian, German and English is hard to read. All in all, it would be hard to make this a first choice for Poppea

Mark Sealey 





We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.