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Conductor Harry Bicket, who also played the lead harpsichord, added his scholarship to Clifford Bartlett's performing edition of the score. The long necked theorbos played with consummate skill by Paula Chateauneuf, Bill Carter and Andrew Maginley looked like a three-masted schooner in the tiny orchestra pit. Maginley also proved to be proficient on the baroque guitar. Violinists Janet Strauss and Tekla Cunningham, violists Kazi Pitelka and Andrew Picken, baroque cellist Phoebe Carrai, gamba/lirone player Erin Headley and organist/harpsichordist Corey Jameson made up the rest of the all-virtuoso orchestra.

Kurt Streit as Nero and Susan Graham as Poppea. Photo © 2006 Robert Millard
Kurt Streit as Nero and Susan Graham as Poppea. Photo © 2006 Robert Millard

Monteverdi was a lover of the human voice and cast far more singers than instrumentalists in his last opera. Since Gian Francesco Busenello's libretto mixes mythological and historical characters, the prologue had Amore proving supremacy over La Fortuna and La Virtù when it came to human matters. Fortuna was interpreted with stylistic grace by Tonna Miller who also portrayed Damigella. Stacy Tappan was a spirited Virtù and an unwavering Pallade. Amore was sung in the prologue by Domingo Thornton Young Artist Program member, Karen Vuong, who had a wonderfully promising sound.

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Copyright © 24 December 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA


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