L’incoronazione di Poppea

Monteverdi 450

English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir

Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Set in the opulence of Imperial Rome, L’Incoronazione di Poppea follows Poppæa’s progression from Nero’s mistress to his acknowledged queen.

Monteverdi’s operatic swan-song is a celebration of carnal love and ambition triumphing at the expense of reason and morality. Monteverdi’s final opera was first performed in the 1642/43 carnival season in Venice, and in contrast to L’Orfeo and Il ritorno d’Ulisse sees Monteverdi turn his back on mythology in favour of a retelling of historical events, though refracted through the lens of classical antiquity.

A study in power, driven by a heady collision of lust and love, The Coronation of Poppæa explores the emotional core of this assortment of vivid characters as they form and dissolve alliances to achieve their amorous goals and social ambitions. As fatally fascinating as they are morally repulsive, these figures inject elements of loss and longing, humour and stoical sobriety into a tale that unfolds almost cinematically. Monteverdi skilfully achieves stark contrasts from the outset: the audience is at first prepared to despise Nero and Poppæa, but instead, the lovers leave us under their irresistible spell with one of the most entwiningly seductive duets ever penned.

Sung in Italian with surtitles.

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Monteverdi 450

Colston Hall is privileged to be a host venue of Monteverdi 450, in which Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts his English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir along with a stellar cast of international soloists in a landmark semi-staged presentation of Monteverdi’s three surviving operas.

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