Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea
Ted Huffman (stage director), Leonardo García Alarcón (conductor) — Elsa Benoit (Poppaea), Jake Arditti (Nero) ...
Thank you for your understanding.
Ted Huffman — Stage director
Johannes Schütz — Stage design
Anna Wörl — Scenography
Astrid Klein — Costumes
Bertrand Couderc — Lighting
Pim Veulings — Movement director
Antonio Cuenca Ruiz — Dramaturgy
Maud Morillon — Assistant stage director
Elsa Benoit — Poppaea
Jake Arditti — Nero
Ambroisine Bré — Octavia, Virtue
Iestyn Davies — Otho
Alex Rosen — Seneca
Stuart Jackson — Arnalta, the Nurse, Friend 1
Maya Kherani — Fortune, Drusilla
Julie Roset — Cupid, a Valet
Laurence Kilsby — Lucano, Soldier 1, Friend 2
Whispers on the wind among the stone columns, daggers hidden in the folds of togas, a marble pattern stained with blood… What better place to stage Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea than the Palace of Versailles itself?
Under the direction of the remarkable Leonardo García Alarcón and Ted Huffman, this historical drama with a libretto by Busenello comes to life with striking relevance. The plot narrates the social climbing exploits of Poppea, a mistress of Nero who becomes his wife—and thus the Empress. Her enemies? Put to the sword… Such is the fate of Seneca (flawlessly performed by Alex Rosen), Stoic philosopher and a one-time teacher of Nero, who chooses to die rather than live under enemy rule. While the composer’s historical source, Tacitus, favors a dark depiction of Poppea, Monteverdi’s character emerges in a more ambivalent light, as she is also capable of great love. Elsa Benoit’s refined interpretation helps the public appreciate the character’s complexities, strengths, and ambiguities.
Besides, as the allegorical prologue of the opera says, it is neither Virtue nor Fortune that drives the history of humankind—it is Love itself, as L’incoronazione di Poppea amply demonstrates!
Photo © Ian Rice