In a context already established by Claudio Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea and other Venetian treatments of the Julio-Claudians, Giovanni A. Boretti and Aurelio Aureli's opera Claudio Cesare bears the heavy influence of the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus. Aureli took extraordinary care to incorporate specific details from Book 12 of Tacitus' Annals into his libretto, deftly blending fact with fanciful supposition in a manner that echoes many of the concerns about women and monarchy explored in Monteverdi's opera. An aria sung by the young Nero to his mother Agrippina demonstrates the complex ways in which music could teach the lessons of history—both seducing the listener and providing a chilling lesson about the political and moral liabilities of empire.

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