The opera in Amsterdam has Monteverdi’s operas on its repertoire. They’re very small productions, with a small orchestra, a bit like an ensemble, and few leading roles. No big choirs, no wall of sound. Monteverdi is known to have written some of the first operas in existence, leading the way to what was coming.
These are not operas however. This is religious work of great beauty. Monteverdi was a composer from the early seventeenth century, first ast the court of Mantua, then in the Republic of Venice at the San Marco. He is seen as a bridge between renaissance music and baroque, introducing new ways in singing.
Most of his works are born from the tradition of renaissance polyphony, but he added the more baroque technique of basso continuo. Something that we now accept as totally normal: a baseline under the melody. Monteverdi defended these revolutionary ways as the seconda pratica, contrasting it to the prima pratica. He was the alternative!
A very interesting booklet with articles about this music is added. A much needed addition, for this music is so far away from modern ears, it is almost from a different planet. A real shame there is no streaming service for this.