Introducing: L’incoronazione di Poppea – Monteverdi 450

Next week we host the second concert in the Monteverdi 450 series with ‘L’incoronazione di Poppea‘, Monteverdi’s operatic swan-song and a celebration of carnal love and ambition triumphing over morality.

After the celebrated premiere of ‘Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria‘ last month, which was flooded with five star reviews and overwhelming audience reactions, we’re eagerly anticipating the return of the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists and their world-class craftsmanship under the baton of Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

As we await for the return of the orchestra from Barcelona to bring this landmark concert to Bristol, we thought we would take a moment to let you get better acquainted with ‘L’incoronazione di Poppea’ ahead of the concert on Mon 8 May.

Watch the video above to hear world renowned conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner introduce Monteverdi’s musical drama, revelling in the scandalous sexual innuendo and explicit corruption that goes on in the Roman court of Nero. 

What audiences thought of Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria

Our audiences were dazzled by the UK premiere of ‘Il ritorno d’Ulisse in partria’ last month. We caught a few of you in the bar to hear what you all thought of this landmark occasion.

The Operas


Sun 28 May 2017
Starting in the realm of the demigods, charismatic musician Orpheus descends to the underworld in an attempt to bring his beloved Eurydice back to life. His journey proves fruitless, as he cannot prevent himself from looking back at Eurydice as she follows him back to the living world and he loses her forever to the world of the dead.

Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria

Wed 12 Apr 2017
From the pastoral world of Orpheus, Monteverdi moves to the Homeric world of Odysseus in the aftermath of the Trojan War. When Ulysses, King of Ithaca, returns home at the end of a ten-year journey he finds his faithful queen, Penelope, besieged by a trio of unctuous suitors and urged by her advisors to accept a new husband. Ulysses (with both the help and hindrance of the quarrelling gods) eventually convinces her of his true identity, routs the three suitors and regains his kingdom.

L’incoronazione di Poppea

Mon 8 May 2017
Monteverdi’s final opera is a celebration of carnal love and ambition triumphing at the expense of reason and morality. Set in a world of shifting alliances, formed and dissolved in the attempt to achieve amorous goals and social ambitions, the opera focuses on anti-heroine Poppea’s ruthless rise from Nero’s mistress to his acknowledged queen. In an opera of stark contrasts, Monteverdi prepares us to despise Nero and Poppea as they are satirised by two disgruntled sentry guards, and yet the ensuing portrayal of the two lovers as they exchange and entwine musical lines leaves us under their irresistible spell.