Monteverdi 450

L’incoronazione di Poppea

Opera musicale in one prologue and three acts [Venice, 1642]
by Claudio Monteverdi [1567–1643]
Gian Francesco Busenello [1598–1659], libretto
Semi-staged performance
450 years Claudio Monteverdi

Dmitry Baltermants, “Show window”, beginning of 1960s, colour print

Dmitry Baltermants, “Show window”, beginning of 1960s, colour print

© Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow / Moscow House of Photography Museum

  • Duration 3h, 20
  • In Italian with German surtitles

Past Dates

18:00 work introduction

Monteverdi’s final opera, “L’incoronazione di Poppea”, first performed in the 1642-43 carnival season in Venice, was unusual in its time for abandoning mythology in favour of a retelling of historical events. The opera portrays Poppea’s progression from Nero’s mistress to his acknowledged queen. In stark contrast to “L’Orfeo” and “Il ritorno d’Ulisse”, Monteverdi’s operatic swan-song is a celebration of carnal love and ambition triumphing at the expense of reason and morality. Set in the decadence of Imperial Rome it explores the emotional core of a group of characters as they form and dissolve alliances to achieve their amorous goals and social ambitions. From the outset Monteverdi achieves stark contrasts – the way, for example, he juxtaposes a scene in which two disgruntled sentry guards satirise Rome’s degenerate society and prepare us to despise Nero and Poppea, and then follows it with a portrayal of the two lovers as they exchange and entwine musical lines which leave us under their irresistible spell.

Poppea/Fortuna Hana Blažíková
Nerone Kangmin Justin Kim
Ottavia Marianna Pizzolato
Seneca Gianluca Buratto
Ottone Carlo Vistoli
Drusilla/Virtú/Pallade Anna Dennis
Arnalta/Venere Lucile Richardot
Amore/Valletto Silvia Frigato
Soldato I / Liberto Furio Zanasi
Famigliari Gareth Treseder
Lucano Zachary Wilder
Damigella Francesca Boncompagni
Mercurio/Littore John Taylor Ward
Nutrice Michał Czerniawski
Soldato II Robert Burt

Rick Fisher lighting design
Isabella Gardiner, Patricia Hofstede costumes
Elsa Rooke, Sir John Eliot Gardiner direction
Paolo Zanzu, Antonio Greco musical assistance

Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
Sir John Eliot Gardiner conductor

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event

Sponsored by the Capital Cultural Funds
and the Aventis Foundation.
Monteverdi 450 is supported by Monteverdi Tuscany

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