Set in the decadent court of ancient Rome, Coronation of Poppea traces the fallout from the scandalous liaison between courtesan Poppea Sabina and Nero; Emperor, madman, murderer. Cupid, the god of Love, sets out to prove to the goddesses of Fortune and Virtue that in the affairs of mortals, Love will always triumph.
The Emperor Nero wishes to be rid of his wife, the Empress Ottavia, and to marry his mistress Poppea. His most trusted advisor Seneca counsels against the plan, but Nero will not listen to reason. Urged on by Poppea, he orders Seneca’s death.
Poppea’s former lover Ottone turns his affections to Drusilla, who has always loved him. Ottavia decides to murder Poppea and forces Ottone to carry out the killing. He is aided in the attempt by Drusilla, but the plot fails when Cupid intervenes. Nero banishes Drusilla and Ottone. With Ottavia also banished, Nero marries Poppea and crowns her Empress.
“Poppea is a towering masterpiece of superbly crafted characterisation, biting satire, and heartbreaking beauty,” said Artistic Director Erin Helyard. “I’m looking forward to revisiting the colours, poetry, and melodies of the seventeenth century – a sound world we haven’t revisited since the enormous critical success of Giasone in 2013.”
Director Mark Gaal and conductor Erin Helyard collaborate on their third production together, and lead an exemplary cast headed by mezzo soprano Helen Sherman, who thrilled audiences in the Pinchgut Opera production of Bajazet, and British countertenor Jake Arditti a rising international star. The Orchestra of the Antipodes will feature on period instruments.
“Even though the Coronation of Poppea was the first opera to be based on real life figures, Monteverdi and librettist Busenello were utilising these actual, historical events to examine darker aspects of their own times,” said Gaal. “We may think we are miles from the madness of ancient Rome, that reason will prevail, but history shows us how easily chaotic, turbulent leadership can shred the rule book, leaving destruction in its wake.”
Director: Mark Gaal Featuring: Helen Sherman, Jake Arditti, Natalie Christie Peluso, Roberta Diamond, Owen Willetts, Kanen Breen, Adam Player, Jacob Lawrence, David Greco, Jeremy Kleeman, Troy Honeysett, Govinda Röser, The Orchestra of the Antipodes Conductor and Harpsichord: Erin Helyard Designer: Charles Davis Lighting Designer: Ross Graham
Coronation of Poppea
City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney
Season: 30 November – 6 December 2017
For more information, visit: www.pinchgutopera.com.au for details.
Image: Coronation of Poppea (supplied)