The Full Monteverdi

The Full Monteverdi on Facebook
June 26, 2011, 10:10 am
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Fans of The Full Monteverdi can now keep in touch using our official Facebook page.

More praise for The Full Monteverdi in South Africa
April 19, 2010, 6:33 am
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The Full Monteverdi draws more acclaim in South Africa. Paul Boekkooi of Independent News and Media hails the film as “frontier-shifting musical drama”, “a brilliant idea: to show through contemporary everyday 21st-century environments and the latest film techniques, but without any CGI intervention, how Monteverdi’s texts…  can spell out every emotional conflict lovers still feel today” that is “diligently thought through and well-crafted to the hilt.”

Welcomed in South Africa
April 5, 2010, 9:46 am
Filed under: General

The Full Monteverdi‘s opening weekend at cinemas in South Africa has been well received. According to The Sunday Times there, “it’s daring, original and, for classic music buffs, it is a unique treat”, while Artsmart describes the film as an “audacious cinematic experiment by John La Bouchardiere so skilfully devised and presented that by the end it is impossible not to be drawn in to the dramatic interactions”.

For this week’s timings, visit the listings page at Polyphonic Films.

Monteverdi goes theatrical in South African cinemas

The Full Monteverdi will be released across South Africa by Ster-Kinekor Cinemas on Friday 2nd April. Multiple screenings will take place each day in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Why Monteverdi’s fourth book?
January 31, 2010, 4:45 pm
Filed under: General, Music

Music director of The Full Monteverdi, Robert Hollingworth, will be talking on BBC Radio 3 this Sunday 31st January about why Monteverdi’s fourth book of madrigals is top of his list of all-time favourites:

At school in chemistry lessons, instead of writing up experiments, I used to list my all-time favourite cricketers. (Mr Morris encouraged my parents to let me give up chemistry.) On going to university to read music, my tutor John Milsom, perhaps recognising this penchant for lists, asked me what I thought were the greatest books of madrigals ever and while we argued about 2nd and 3rd place, there was never any question of what came first: Monteverdi’s 4th book of madrigals from 1603. It has an unequalled variety and a virtuosity that leaves you breathless, but what hit me as a 20 year old setting up my own solo-voice ensemble was its emotional power.

For years, I performed these pieces with I Fagiolini, noting the different audience reactions. Although I find UK audiences very sophisticated when it comes to listening to Renaissance polyphony in general, I was often disappointed when it came to their emotional reaction to Monteverdi which seemed to be more intellectual than emotional – although that was perhaps more how they expressed what they felt.

Anyway, when John La Bouchardière came along with his idea of dramatising an entire book of madrigals, that same 4th book, I was very interested, though quite skeptical as I didn’t think an audience would be able to listen to that much polyphony without some help along the way by means of pauses. We tried it out and the rest is history – but the thing that convinced me to go ahead with the project was that it would change the way some audiences heard and felt the music.

Sunday’s programme on Radio 3 looks at nearly all of Monteverdi’s 4th book, in performances by I Fagiolini and The Consort of Musicke along with the two top Italian ensembles, Concerto Italiano and La Venexiana. This comparison with the other groups should be interesting in itself and a non-dramatic introduction to the pieces worthwhile for anyone who has seen the film but not looked at the music on its own. For my part, I now find it quite difficult to sing the music without remembering what happened in The Full Monteverdi at that point…

To hear the programme and for more about the show:

HD Trailer
September 8, 2009, 8:50 am
Filed under: General

To support the theatrical releases of The Full Monteverdi we have re-cut the trailer. It now focuses on the characters rather than simply the concept, and we’ve added a few quotes in for good measure. Watch it below on YouTube or click here for a larger QuickTime HD stream.

The praise continues…
September 5, 2009, 11:18 am
Filed under: General

“This film is a brilliant adaptation of Monteverdi’s Fourth Book of Madrigals that is totally faithful to the composer’s music… a brilliant conceit and it works spectacularly well…  This film makes explicit the drama that is inherent in the music and poetry and can, therefore, do a great deal to promote appreciation of Monteverdi’s madrigals… members of I Fagiolini sing with tremendous expressivity, flawless intonation, and amazing vocal technique. So convincing was their performance that it was not difficult at all to suspend disbelief… This is a highly recommended DVD that should prove attractive to both opera lovers and early music devotees.”

William E. Grim Opera Today (USA) Aug 2009

January 7, 2009, 11:03 pm
Filed under: General, Press


Support us on Facebook and spread the word about the film. You can now join our Facebook group by clicking here or on the link below:

You can also become a fan of I Fagiolini – click here or on the link below

An unusual antidote to tinsel telly
November 24, 2008, 11:45 am
Filed under: Broadcast, General

The Full Monteverdi will receive its UK television premiere on 25th December at 20.00 on both SKYARTS 2 and SKYARTS HD. Head of Programming, Adrian Zak writes: “The Full Monteverdi was one of the first projects I was involved with here and it is one of those I am most proud of. We wanted to give it the slot it deserved.”

Given that Gramophone magazine’s critic, Richard Lawrence, recommended that viewers might “need to be in pretty good emotional shape to… survive the experience of watching it”, some may be surprised by the decision to broadcast the film on Christmas day. Director John La Bouchardiere, however, is sticking to his guns: “It will certainly be an unusual antidote to tinsel television but Christmas is about valuing relationships, so just cuddle up in front of the telly and share what’s left of the sherry.”

For full Press Release CLICK HERE

Monteverdi goes South (again)
October 8, 2008, 10:22 pm
Filed under: General

Australia’s broadcaster SBS will show the country’s network television première of The Full Monteverdi on Saturday 18 October at 1pm. This is the film’s second trip to the Southern Hemisphere, following numerous transmissions of the episode version on New Zealand’s The Arts Channel in 2007 and earlier in 2008.

The Full Monteverdi’s cinematic summer
September 1, 2008, 2:48 pm
Filed under: General

The so-called British summer has provided us more opportunities to show The Full Monteverdi on big screens around England, in venues as widespread as Zeffirelli’s in the Lake District and Chichester Film Festival on the South coast. It’s good to see the film attracting some local press, too, such as this review in Worcester News.

We’ve also had interesting and enthusiastic feedback from our post-screening discussions (music director Robert Hollingworth at Dartington and director John La Bouchardiere at Chichester). The film continues to amaze its audiences, leaving many of them bowled over by its by its emotional force and universally astonished that The Full Monteverdi got made at all. John will be hosting another discussion after the film’s Danish Premiere in November.

Fanfare from America
July 25, 2008, 11:26 am
Filed under: General

More critical acclaim from the USA:

This is a remarkable way of realizing a book of madrigals that was never conceived to be heard this way. It’s highly successful, whether you watch with the English subtitles on or off. Not a word is spoken, for apart from ambient sound there is nothing to be heard but the singing, interrupted only by the briefest of pauses. The emotional expression on all the faces is convincing, an aspect that could easily have spoiled the effect. Repeated viewing will certainly reveal overlooked details, as the viewer becomes familiar with the dozen personalities that pop up in succession with some rapidity. Remember, six amorous breakups are unfolding simultaneously, the emotions and meanings of the madrigals applying equally to all of them. The production was made jointly for five national television systems and Naxos, and it has been broadcast since last autumn. This is a remarkably original conception, carried out with astonishing success. I have never realized the meaning of a set of madrigals as clearly as I did here.

J. F. Weber Fanfare (USA) July/August 2008

June 2, 2008, 3:24 pm
Filed under: General

We’re delighted to announce a series of screenings this summer at some great music and arts festivals up and down the country. For booking details see SCREENINGS page.

19 June 19.00 Opera Fringe

26 June 21.30 Corsham Festival

05 July 17.00 Cheltenham International Music Festival

04 August 17.00 Dartington International Summer School

05 August 14.00 Three Choirs Festival

05 August 17.00 Lake District Summer Music Festival

Summer Festivals

Six stars from Norway
June 2, 2008, 2:58 pm
Filed under: General

The idea is actually very simple: you take Monteverdi’s Fourth Book of Madrigals (1603) and transplant them to a modern setting. But like most simple ideas it takes a special imagination to come up with it in the first place, and full credit to director John La Bouchardière for that moment of genius. The setting is a restaurant: the six voices of I Fagiolini sing the Monteverdi (wonderfully) as six actors mime the disintegration of their love affairs to their partners, flashbacks later revealing how they came to be there in the first place. What La Bouchardière has done is to add a further layer of meaning to the music: already painfully beautiful, it now takes on a searing intensity – I watched it with tears running down my cheeks.

Martin Anderson Klassisk (Norway) May 2008


April 30, 2008, 8:04 am
Filed under: General

While the film continues to receive acclaim from the critics there’s a great vibe building online about the film too. As the film is released and broadcast around the globe blogs and feedback sites are filling with great audience reviews. Here’s a few recent additions:

The view from a blogger in Australia – buyer reviews from North America –

Great feedback from UK buyers at Amazon –