chapter  4
22 Pages

Echoes of Hope in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo

Withand Beethoven’s Fidelio

Is there a music of hope today? If so, what does it sound like? To explore some answers, I am going to focus on two operas in which hope makes a brief appearance: Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo of 1607 and Beethoven’s Fidelio of 1814. There is no historical connection between the two operas, and yet, as far as the articulation of hope is concerned they form negative images of each other: in theological terms, hope in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo is apophatic, whereas in Beethoven’s Fidelio it is kataphatic.