Pur ti miro, final duet from L’incoronazione di Poppea

Composer: Claudio Monteverdi (b. 1567 - d. 1643)
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Composer: Claudio Monteverdi (b. 1567 - d. 1643)

Performance date: 29/06/2014

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1642

Duration: 00:03:50

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTE

Instrumentation Category:Small Mixed Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: 2 S-solo, vc, lu

Artists: Kate Hearne - [recorder/cello]
Fredrik Bock - [lute]
Ruby Hughes - [mezzo-soprano]
Maria Keohane - [soprano]

Claudio Monteverdi [1567–1643] and Benedetto Ferrari [c.1603–1681]

epic opera L’incoronazione di Poppea
is his last, and perhaps greatest work. First performed during the Venetian
carnival season of 1643, it established the composer as the leading musical
dramatist of his time. Unfortunately the original manuscript is lost, and there
is much speculation over whether the score is solely by Monteverdi, or if it
came about as a result of collaboration between the aging composer and several
of his younger colleagues. The principal librettist of Poppea is Busenello, but the text of Pur ti miro (I gaze on you) is
indisputably by Ferrari, who may very well also be the composer of this
exquisite aria.

are many duets scattered throughout the opera, and they are used as an
expressive portrayal of different types of love making.
Pur ti miro brings the work to an emotional close and is considered
to be one of the greatest love duets in operatic history. Its crushing
harmonies and intertwining vocal lines set over a simple ciacona ground bass
depict Poppea and Nerone’s adoration and sexual desire for each other. It is a
bittersweet moment of rapture between two lovers driven by desire, but who are
essentially scheming, bad people. It could be argued that it fits in very well
with circumstances under which it was created. The carnival of
Venice was, after all, known to be a
decadent, self indulgent festival used to rid the system of all impious
thoughts before the onset of Lent.