[Daily article] February 18: L’incoronazione di Poppea

L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppaea) is an Italian
opera by Claudio Monteverdi (pictured), with a libretto by Giovanni
Francesco Busenello. It was first performed during the 1643 carnival
season in Venice. One of the first operas to use historical events and
people, it describes how Poppaea, mistress of the Roman emperor Nero,
achieves her ambition to be crowned empress. The opera was revived in
1651, but was then neglected until the score was rediscovered in 1888.
Since the 1960s, the work has been performed and recorded many times.
The original manuscript of the score does not exist; two surviving
copies from the 1650s differ significantly. How much of the music is
actually Monteverdi’s is disputed. Details of the original cast are
largely speculative, and there is no record of the opera’s initial
public reception. Despite these uncertainties, it is generally accepted
as part of the Monteverdi operatic canon, his last and perhaps his
greatest work. Written when the genre of opera was only a few decades
old, the music for L’incoronazione di Poppea has been praised for its
originality and melody, and it helped to redefine the boundaries of
theatrical music.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1766:

A mutiny by captive Malagasy began at sea on the slave ship
Meermin, leading to the ship’s destruction on Cape Agulhas in present-
day South Africa and the recapture of the instigators.

1878:

Competition between two merchants in Lincoln County, New Mexico
Territory, US, turned into a range war when a member of one faction was
murdered by the other.

1957:

Kenyan independence leader Dedan Kimathi (statue pictured), who
spearheaded the Mau Mau Uprising, was executed by British authorities,
who saw him as a terrorist.

1970:

An American jury acquitted the “Chicago Seven” of conspiracy
and inciting riots stemming from protests during the 1968 Democratic
National Convention.

2007:

Terrorist bombs exploded on the Samjhauta Express train in
Panipat, Haryana, India, killing 68 people.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

artisanal:
1. Of or pertaining to artisans or the work of artisans.
2. Involving skilled work, with comparatively little reliance on machinery.
3. (of an item, especially a foodstuff) Made by an artisan (skilled
worker).

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

   We have seen the highest circle of spiraling powers. We have
named this circle God. We might have given it any other name we wished:
Abyss, Mystery, Absolute Darkness, Absolute Light, Matter, Spirit,
Ultimate Hope, Ultimate Despair, Silence. But we have named it God
because only this name, for primordial reasons, can stir our hearts
profoundly. And this deeply felt emotion is indispensable if we are to
touch, body with body, the dread essence beyond logic. Within this
gigantic circle of divinity we are in duty bound to separate and
perceive clearly the small, burning arc of our epoch.  
–Nikos Kazantzakis

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