Orfeo Recuperated, Monteverdi Transformed

  • Iain Fenlon, Historical Musicology, Cambridge University; Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor at UBC
    Coach House, Green College, UBC

    Tuesday, October 31, 5-6:30 pm, with reception to follow
    Fireside Chat, 8 pm, Piano Lounge, Graham House
    in the series
    Transforming Sounds / Altered Selves: How Music Changes in Time, Changes Us, and Changes Our Worlds
  • In the spring of 1607, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, claimed by music history as the first true opera, was given its first performance before an elite aristocratic audience in the Gonzaga palace in Mantua. Alessandro Striggio, a high-ranking Mantuan court official, wrote the libretto, drawing on an episode familiar to many from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. This transformation of a classical myth into a vernacular play was, however, just the first phase of a complicated process of musical mise en scène. Although Monteverdi’s music was published in an elaborate score two years later, it was not given any further performances and then lay dormant until the late nineteenth century. The history of its subsequent recuperation presents a fascinating panorama of organic adaption and conversion which spans four centuries and continues to this day. Monteverdi’s Orfeo will be presented by Early Music Vancouver at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC on Sunday, 29 October at 3 pm, with a pre-concert talk by Iain Fenlon at 2:15 pm. Tickets from the Chan Centre box-office or via www.earlymusic.bc.ca

    Most of Iain Fenlon’s writing has been concerned with the social and cultural history of music in early modern Italy and Spain. His books include a two-volume study, Music and Patronage in Sixteenth-Century Mantua (1980), a monograph on the early Italian madrigal (with James Haar) (1988), and Music, Print and Culture in Early Sixteenth-Century Italy (The Panizzi Lectures, British Library, 1994). His most recent books are The Ceremonial City: History, Memory and Myth in Renaissance Venice 2007), Piazza San Marco (2009), and (co-edited with Inga Mai Groote), Heinrich Glarean’s Books: The Intellectual World of a Sixteenth-Century Musical Humanist (2013). His current research concerns the place of music and devotion in both the private and public life of Venice and the towns and cities of the Veneto. He is a collaborator on the “Early Modern Conversions” research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, for which Green College at UBC is an institutional partner.
  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.


October 31st, 2017 from  5:00 PM to  6:30 PM
Coach House
6201 Cecil Green Park Rd
Green College, UBC
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
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Speaker Series Transforming Sounds / Altered Selves
Short Title Orfeo Recuperated, Monteverdi Transformed
Speaker (new) Iain Fenlon, Historical Musicology, Cambridge University; Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor at UBC
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