Donald Macleod follows Monteverdi on the road to stardom at the court of Mantua and begins the podcast by uncovering the composer's musical obsession with sex and violence.
Monteverdi lobbied hard to be put in charge of music at Mantua but he found the work stressful and underpaid, plus his unorthodox musical style was coming under fire. Music had always been secondary to drama in the court theatre at Mantua and across Europe, but Monteverdi was working towards a revolutionary new form called opera, that would set the template for the next four hundred years.
A royal wedding gives Monteverdi and the whole court at Mantua a chance to dazzle, but will the strain prove too much for the beleaguered composer? Deeply unhappy, Monteverdi looks for a way out of his service to the Dukes of Mantua but the decision is eventually taken out of his hands.