I do not go to hear performances of Monteverdi very often – indeed, I cannot recall hearing a live performance of Monteverdi since the 1980s – but when I do, I want them to sound like tonight’s.
The New York Continuo Collective presented excerpts from three Monteverdi operas this evening: L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse, and L’Orfeo. The mix of amateur and semi-professional musicians gave a spirited and intelligent presentation at a very high standard, under music director Grant Herreid. The interpretation remained light – at times, toe-tappingly so. The simple semi-staged scenes enabled the collection of singers (often sharing roles – in one case even tag-teaming) to demonstrate an infectious enthusiasm.