Libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenello
Music by Claudio Monteverdi
Italian Baroque opera reached its full development, known as opera seria, by the early 1720’s and dominated Europe for most of the remainder of the century. L’Incoronazion di Poppaea is one of my favorite Baroque operas; for its seemingly superficial plot, its dark depths, its struggles, its ironies.
Ellen Rosand has a wonderful article entitled “Seneca and the Interpretation of L’Inocoronazione di Poppaea” and if you have access to JSTOR you should go read right now.
There are two pivotal points in her essay that I love: her careful observation of the personalities of Busenello the librettist and Monteverdi the composer, and the way she helps the reader see the shift of meaning in the opera when the music interprets the libretto.