This, the fullest edition of Monteverdi's letters yet to appear in any language, makes every known letter available in English translation. The 127 letters date from the last forty-two years of Monteverdi's career, giving an unrivalled picture of the life of a busy composer working Mantua, Venice, and Parma at one of the most exciting and crucial periods in the history of music. The span of the letters (1601-43) coincides with the early flowering of Italian opera and other dramatic entertainments, and Monteverdi has a great deal to say about his patrons, librettists, instrumentalist and singers. There are continual references to his music, the style of its performance, and to its ornamentation and orchestration. Besides correcting the numerous errors of transcription in previous editions, Professor Stevens has taken special care in his translations to be faithful to the rhythms and the arched symmetry of Moteverdi's prose. Additional biographical and historical material is incorporated into the extensive commentaries which introduce each letter. In this new, fully revised edition, certain changes and revisions affecting letters and commentaries have been made in the light of newly published information books, articles, and reviews, and through private communications. Additional letters and support material are included, and the bibliography has been updated. Professor Stevens also introduces new material covering in some detail the events of Monteverdi's early years in Cremona and Mantua, insofar as they were influenced by his family, his studies, travels, friends and patrons.