Claudio Monteverdi: Orfeo by John Whenham
A detailed study of the earliest opera to have gained a foothold in the modern repertoire, the book begins with a historical section in which all the known evidence about the creation and early performances of Orfeo is drawn together and evaluated. The second section of the book includes a detailed history of the rediscovery of the opera; an influential essay by Joseph Kerman is reprinted here, together with a review by Romain Rolland of the first modern performance of Orfeo. The final section includes essays by a conductor and a producer who have staged notable performances of the opera in recent years. They explain their approaches to the work, and offer solutions to some of the problems it poses in performance.