Opera: The Seeds of Verdi

The tale of dissolution that unfolded before the first-night audience in Venice's Theater of St. John and St. Paul had the tang of vintage Tennessee Williams. It was rife with adultery and assassination, seduction and suicide, torture and a touch of transvestism. But the première took place 321 years ago, the format was operatic, and its author was the revered "father of modern opera" himself, Claudio Monteverdi.

In Dallas this week, Monteverdi's rarely performed Coronation of Poppea proved its viability by inaugurating the 1963 Dallas Civic Opera season. And it was not the salacious story that kept Poppea popping....

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