Current Opera: L’incoronazione di Poppea (May 2017)


12th to 21st May

Jacksons Lane Theatre, Archway Rd, Highgate

Director – Simon Iorio

Musical Director – Oliver John Ruthven

With period orchestra Musica Poetica

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May 12th to 21st, at Jacksons Lane Theatre in Highgate, Hampstead Garden Opera will present Monteverdi’s great masterpiece, L’incoronazione di Poppea, in an innovative new production developed by Simon Iorio.  For HGO, performing this wonderful work is a very important milestone, particularly given that we coincide with the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth on the 21st May. This production also marks the first time that HGO will perform an opera in its original language (other than English), together with the first time that we will perform with surtitles. This is an indication of our pledge as a training opera company to give our singers a complete experience of performing opera, as well as giving our audiences a presentation of this work with not only the authentic music with period orchestra Musica Poetica, but also the authentic text.

Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea, the third of his three surviving operas, rightly occupies an elevated position in the history of the genre. It is a masterpiece of text setting and musical invention, at a time when opera as we know it today was very new, and certainly not performed in anything like the same way. Monteverdi was blessed to be able to set a particularly fine libretto, written Giovanni Busenello, perhaps the first great opera librettist, and Da Ponte’s literary forefather.

“The opera is a story about loss of all reason in a quest for power” says Director Simon Iorio. “Our characters exist in a world of lust and intrigue. Poppea is a woman who is completely aware of her own superficial beauty and sexual appeal, knowing exactly how to harness it in order to achieve her own ambitions of power and success. She focuses her attention on the young Nerone, an impetuous, vicious, spoiled and indulgent man. The pair make for a deadly combination to all who surround them.  Our moral compass is Seneca, a philosopher and advisor to Nerone, desperately trying to live up to his ideals and beliefs whilst being utterly compromised.”