A voice, a lute, a sigh. Nothing could be simpler and more immemorial. This expression of sentiments and emotions, of the intermittencies of the heart and the shadows of the soul, is of course as old as the world. Yet it was truly a reconquest of the Renaissance. With Caccini, the ‘new music’ at once found a miraculous melodist. He composed a Euridice, performed in 1602, two years after Jacopo Peri’s setting and five years before Monteverdi’s Orfeo. The Renaissance did not know opera, but long secreted that genre soon to be born. And it is brand-new opera that opens and closes this recording, through the voice of its first visionary, Claudio Monteverdi. His Lamento d’Arianna, the centrepiece of a lost work, expresses sorrow, regrets, revolt through the very music of the Italian language, here brought to white heat. The ‘new music’ spread throughout Italy: Merula in Cremona, Falconieri in Naples, and Barbara Strozzi, the most famous woman composer of the age, in Venice. The Italian soprano Roberta Mameli is a great lover of this music, which she performs with an outstanding feeling for words and drama. Luca Pianca offers her his artistry and his great experience. Roberta Mameli is joining Alpha for several recordings, which will guide us towards other rarities and other periods.