L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA
(The Coronation of Poppea)
Claudio Monteverdi 1567 – 1643
Opera in three acts with a prologue
Libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenello
First performed in 1642, in Venice
Sung in Italian with German surtitles
Duration: 3 1/2 hours incl. one interval
26.12.2014 |28.12.2014 |
31.12.2014 |01.01.2015 |
Simone Di Felice
Ute M. Engelhardt
Nora Friedrichs *
Virtù / Pallade
Liberto / Lucano / Littore
Mercurio / Famigliare 3 / Tribune
Soldat 1 / Console
Soldat 2 / Famigliare 2
Oper Frankfurt’s Orchestra
About the work
Nero ruled half the world from his throne in Rome. The only one more powerful than the tyrant was Amor, God of Love, who sets in motion a terrible game of desire and jealousy to prove it. 74 year old Claudio Monteverdi was not at all coy when it came to depicting the characters and intrigue in a story set in ancient Rome, creating a spectacle full of twists and turns. In one of the first works to be performed in a public opera house and not at court, Monteverdi decided to move away from the more usual mythical themes and focussed instead on the young tyrant Nero: the Roman Emperor, married to Ottavia, has fallen hopelessly and passionately in love with Poppea, General Ottone’s unscrupulous wife. Seneca tries to make him see sense – but Nero would rather drive his old teacher to commit suicide than forget about Poppea.
When Ottavia and Ottone are caught trying to kill Poppea in her sleep all obstacles are scattered to the wind: Nero sends his wife and general into exile and crowns Poppea Empress of Rome. So… »goodness« is not victorious: the inconsiderate win, people prepared to let nothing get in the way of their passions and goals. The work is full of amusing scenes which have nothing to do with main story at all but, apparently, give us an idea of what made Venetians laugh in those days.
A young pair of lovers, two nurses and Fortuna and Virtù complete the picture: in the prologue the goddesses of pleasure and virtue argue about which of them will best be able to steer the course of events. But, in the end, it is Amor, the laughing third, who boasted that he »could change the entire world on a whim«, who wins.