Which Vespers would Claudio Monteverdi have chosen to perform at the end of his life under Titian’s dazzling Assumption of the Virgin in Venice’s Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa del Frari – the same church where Monteverdi would be buried in 1643? The famous Vespers of 1610 are now considered to be his masterpiece, but it should not be forgotten that this work is merely one of many possible solutions – a photographic souvenir captured in time which has been preserved for posterity owing to its publication in print. In fact, Vespers – a variable and ephemeral form par excellence – were performed by Monteverdi throughout his life on various occasions related to the cult of Mary. 

Following the traditional sequence of Marian vespers, emblematic of the religious fervour of Venice still scarred by the great plague epidemic of 1630–1631, Vincent Dumestre and Le Poème Harmonique present selected works from Monteverdi’s great collection Selva morale e spirituale from 1641. In this way, they also create a sort of the composer’s artistic testament at the height of his fame and maturity. More intimate works, such as antiphons and instrumental motets, interweave with monumental pieces: the psalm Dixit Dominus or the canticle Magnificat, based on the principle of the double choir and the use of the concertante style, emblematic of musical style in Venice at the time. A jewel in this musical treasure trove is Pianto della Madonna, in which Monteverdi repeats note for note the deeply moving lamento from his now lost second opera L’Arianna, changing only the text to adapt it to the new version of Vespers to the Virgin. 

The concert by Le Poème Harmonique will take place in St Mary’s Basilica in front of the high altar by Veit Stoss. It will be the first Misteria Paschalia Festival event to be held in one of Kraków’s most significant churches. 

The concert will be preceded by a meeting from the Listening Keys cycle.


Perrine Devillers – soprano 

Anouk Defontenay soprano  

Paco Garcia – alto 

Cyril Auvity, Romain Bockler – tenor 

Nicolas Brooymans – baritone 


Le Poème Harmonique 

Vincent Dumestre – conductor, artistic direction 




Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) 

Vespro della Beata Vergine a Venezia 1643 


Deus, in adiutorium (Psalm 69)

Dixit Dominus secondo (SV 264)

Ego flos campi

Laudate, pueri primo (SV 270)

Stabat Virgo Maria

Laetatus sum (SV 198, 1650)

Salve Regina (SV 284)

Nisi Dominus secondo (1650)

Pianto della Madonna (SV 288)

Lauda Jerusalem (1650)

Magnificat (SV 281)


LISTENING KEYS: Monteverdi’s final years 

26 March 2024, Holy Tuesday | 8:15 pm | Potocki Palace, Rynek Główny 20 

Delving into deeper layers of music is often seen as the key to achieving a full understanding of this art, which is usually perceived intuitively. In order to fully understand its subtleties, it is crucial that the listener hones their listening skills and seeks the right words to describe their experiences and impressions. This is the aim of the Listening Keys – a series of meetings with a musician, who will equip the audience with these very tools. The participants will have an opportunity to explore selected pieces in depth, as well as to discover the hidden beauty and context of the musical stories woven by the most outstanding composers of past eras. 

The meeting will serve as an opportunity to explore the musical experiences of the final years of one of the most eminent composers in the history of music, who passed away in Venice in 1643. Join us to get immersed into the works of the master composer and discover their deep meanings. 


Aleksander Mocek

 Entry with a ticket to the Grands Concerts concert on the same day.