Poppea_1280x680_1516 © beyond/André Sanchez

Opera in one prologue and three acts
Music by Claudio Monteverdi
Libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenello
In Italian with German surtitles

Production of Theater an der Wien

Premiere: Monday, 12 October 2015, 7 pm

Content

In his last opera, premiered in 1643, Monteverdi dealt with a historical subject for the first time. The story of the scandalous marriage of Emperor Nero to Poppea was well known to audiences. However, Monteverdi and his librettist Francesco Busenello made no judgement: the music celebrates the two protagonists’ love with great sensuality, without concealing the trail of violence they leave in their wake. Added to this is a colourful array of comic figures from the Commedia dell’arte, evidently included to please the audience. Public opera houses for paying visitors existed in Venice from 1637. Monteverdi bestows all his skill on these episodic figures too. Director Claus Guth uses the great diversity within the work to cause different worlds to collide and to provide space for the ramifications of the plot to unfold, which also allow theatrical exaggerations. Against the background of a failing empire, the historical characters reveal a set of people in whom we can see ourselves: They are all driven by their passions.

Who controls the actions of humankind? This is the subject of a wager between Fortuna (Fate), Virtù (Virtue) and Amore (Love) in the prologue. Nerone, ruler of a great empire, is not interested in government. His attention is entirely taken up with the beautiful Poppaea whom he covets with a passion. Poppea, for her part, wants to be on the throne and shamelessly exploits her seductive powers. Those who lose out are Nero’s wife Ottavia and Poppaea’s former lover Ottone. Nerone rids himself of the philosopher Seneca, whose warnings irritate the emperor, by ordering him to commit suicide. Ottavia, however, wants revenge and incites Ottone to try to murder Poppea. Ottone also involves Drusilla, who is in love with him, in the plot. The god Amore himself prevents the murder and makes sure that he wins the wager: Nerone crowns Poppea his empress, and Rome applauds. Is Amore really victorious in the end?

Cast

Conductor

Jean-Christophe Spinosi

Biography
Director

Claus Guth

Biography
Set & costume design

Christian Schmidt

Biography
Light design

Olaf Winter

Biography
Video design

Arian Andiel

Biography
Choreography

Ramses Sigl

Biography
Sound design

Christina Bauer

Biography
Dramaturgy

Konrad Kuhn

Biography
Ottone

Christophe Dumaux

Biography
Ottavia

Jennifer Larmore

Biography
Nerone

Valer Sabadus

Biography
Poppea

Alex Penda

Biography
Seneca

Franz-Josef Selig

Biography
Drusilla

Sabina Puértolas

Biography
Nutrice, Ottavias Amme

Marcel Beekman

Biography
Arnalta, Poppeas Amme

José Manuel Zapata

Biography
Fortuna (19, 21 & 23 October)

Viktorija Bakan

Biography
Fortuna (12, 14 & 16 October)

Frederikke Kampmann

Biography
Virtù | Pallade

Natalia Kawałek

Biography
Amore | 1. Famigliare

Jake Arditti

Biography
Damigella

Gaia Petrone

Biography
Valletto

Emilie Renard

Biography
Lucano | 1st sodlier | Consul | 2. Famigliare

Rupert Charlesworth

Biography
Liberto | 2nd soldier | Consul

Manuel Günther

Biography
Mercurio | Tribune | 3. Famigliare

Christoph Seidl

Biography
Littore | Tribun

Tobias Greenhalgh

Biography
Orchestra

Ensemble Matheus

Biography

Photos Gallery

L'incoronazione di Poppea 201/16

Premiere: Oktober 12th, 2015
Director: Claus Guth
Conductor: Jean-Christophe Spinosi
New production of the Theater an der Wien
Photos: © Monika Rittershaus

Videos

L'incoronazione di Poppea/Monteverdi "Pur ti miro..."

L'incoronazione di Poppea/Monteverdi "Pur ti miro..."

Alex Penda (Poppea) & Valer Sabadus (Nerone)
Musikalische Leitung: Jean-Christophe Spinosi
Ensemble Matheus
Inszenierung: Claus Guth, Ausstattung: Christian Schmidt
Neuproduktion des Theater an der Wien
Premiere: 12. Oktober 2015

Valer Sabadus (Nerone) in "L'incoronazione di Poppea"/Monteverdi

Valer Sabadus (Nerone) in "L'incoronazione di Poppea"/Monteverdi

Musikalische Leitung: Jean-Christophe Spinosi
Ensemble Matheus
Inszenierung: Claus Guth
Ausstattung: Christian Schmidt
Neuproduktion des Theater an der Wien
Premiere: 12. Oktober 2015