Park Avenue Armory

Monteverdi’s Maria Vespers

From March 21-29, 2020, the Kreupelhout-Cripplewood, 2012-2013 sculpture was scheduled to be the central visual element for the North American Premiere of a Park Avenue Armory, Dutch National Opera, and Holland Festival Production of Monteverdi’s Marian Vespers opera. Conductor Raphaël Pichon, sculptor Berlinde de Bruyckere, and Armory Artistic Director Pierre Audi adapted Monteverdi’s sacred work for contemporary audiences.

The performances were cancelled due to the COVID-19 epidemic. You can watch an excerpt from the 2017 performance in Holland at the link below.

Marian Vespers, written in 1610 and among Claudio Monteverdis greatest musical achievements, will be performed in the Armory’s soaring 55,000 square foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall in a 360-degree aural experience. Conductor Raphaël Pichon will lead his renowned Baroque orchestra and choral ensemble Pygmalion in this wondrous, spiritual performance.

“The Armory has always been committed to supporting experimental and boundary-pushing productions that cannot be realized anywhere else in the city,” said Rebecca Robertson, Founding President and Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory. “With Maria Vespers, we are delighted to work with Pierre Audi for this sonic tour de force that will offer a rare opportunity for New York audiences to experience Monteverdi’s magnum opus in a multisensory way that draws on the building’s acoustics and grand architecture, and the Armory’s cross-disciplinary programming mission by uniting historical music and Berlinde De Bruyckere’s moving sculpture.”

Monteverdi composed the music while he was a court musician and composer of the Gonzaga, the dukes of Mantua, for the evening prayer service, paying homage to the Virgin Mary. The text is compiled from several Biblical and liturgical texts in Latin which are traditionally part of the vespers on feasts celebrating Mary in the Catholic Church:

Vespers remained structurally unchanged for 1,500 years.