Monteverdi Sacred & Secular

In Spring 2020, the forces behind the MCO’s acclaimed 2017 Monteverdi Trilogy project reunite with John Eliot Gardiner to explore the richness and emotional intensity of the composer’s more intimate music.


O ciechi, il tanto affaticar, SV 252 (from Selva morale e spirituale, 1641)
Dixit Dominus II ‘concertato’, SV 264 (from Selva morale e spirituale, 1641)
Confitebor III ‘alla francese’, SV 267 (from Selva morale e spirituale, 1641)
Salve Regina I (Audi coelum), SV 283 (from Selva morale e spirituale, 1641)
Beatus vir I ‘concertato’, SV 268 (from Selva morale e spirituale, 1641)
Hor che’l ciel e la terra, SV 147 (8th Book of Madrigals, 1638)
Lamento della ninfa, SV 163 (8th Book of Madrigals, 1638)
Sestina – Lagrime d’amante al sepolcro dell’amata, SV 111 (6th Book of Madrigals, 1614)
Ballo delle ingrate, SV 167 (excerpts) (8th Book of Madrigals, 1638)

In his operas Orfeo, Poppea and Ulisse, Monteverdi’s musical illumination of poetry brought his characters to life with palpable humanity; each of the madrigals performed in this programme, taken from the composer’s sixth and eighth books, vividly realise the poetic voice of jealousy, regret, grief and erotic desire. They are set against sacred works – many from the Selva morale e spirituale, the large collection he published near the end of his life – which are similarly colourful elucidations of their texts, by turns mystical and celebratory.

These duets, trios, and larger-scale pieces evoke Monteverdi’s world at the highly cultured court of the Dukes of Gonzaga in Mantua, and later, in the republic of Venice, where he was commissioned to write music for various institutions as well as for the Basilica of St Mark during his tenure as the cathedral’s maestro di cappella. Among these works is the sensuous and mercurial setting of Petrarch’s evocation of nocturnal amorous torment, ‘Hor che’l ciel e la terra’, with its extraordinary final phrase, which perhaps best encapsulates the variety, virtuosity and vibrancy of the repertoire that gave the Monteverdi Choir its name.

Led by John Eliot Gardiner, members of the Monteverdi ensembles and a group of brilliant young soloists present this exploration of Monteverdi’s sacred and secular works on a tour of Europe’s finest concert halls.


Grand Théâtre de Provence, Aix-en-Provence
Wednesday 15 April at 8.30pm

Philharmonie de Paris, Paris
Thursday 16 April at 8.30pm

Tonhalle Maag, Zürich
Saturday 18 April at 6.30pm

Teatro Manzoni, Bologna
Sunday 19 April at 8.30pm

Auditorium Giovanni Agnelli, Turin
Tuesday 21 April at 8.30pm

Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Budapest
Thursday 23 April at 7.30pm

Musikverein, Vienna
Friday 24 April at 7.30pm

Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg
Sunday 26 April at 7.30pm

Church of San Marcellino, Cremona
Tuesday 28 April at 9pm