2009 Monteverdi’s L’incoronzione di Poppea

BEMF Opera | 2009 Centerpiece Opera

Monteverdi’s L’incoronzione di Poppea

June 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, and 14, 2009
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA

June 19, 20, and 21, 2009
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Claudio Monteverdi’s final and most profound opera, L’incoronazione di Poppea, was first composed in the early 1640s, and was first performed at the Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paulo in Venice in 1643, just fifty years after the “birth” of opera as an art form. Its themes remain as richly current and intriguing today as they were more than three and a half centuries ago: the abuse of power, the drive of lust, and the triumph of love.

The story of the Roman Emperor Nero’s obsessive love for Poppea, widely regarded as the most beautiful woman in the ancient world, is at the smoldering center of Monteverdi’s masterpiece. Like a Shakespeare tragicomedy, there is a two-tiered society an “upstairs-downstairs” in which comic servants puncture to illusions of the “betters,” while the “noble” characters surrender themselves to their passions. Above both of these, in the tradition of Greco-Roman mythology, is the domain of the gods, ruled by the smallest, yet most omnipotent: Amore.



Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Musical Directors
Gilbert Blin, Stage Director and Set Designer
Anna Watkins, Costume Designer and Supervisor
Lenore Doxsee, Lighting Designer
Kathleen Fay, Executive Producer
Abbie H. Katz, Associate Producer
Ellen Hargis, Assistant Stage Director


Gillian Keith, Poppea
Marcus Ullmann, Nerone
Stephanie Houtzeel, Ottavia
Holger Falk, Ottone
Amanda Forsythe, Drusilla
Christian Immler, Seneca
Laura Pudwell, Arnalta
Ross Hauck, Lucano
Nell Snaidas, Amore & Valletto
Aaron Sheehan, Liberto
Erica Schuller, La Fortuna
Deborah Rentz-Moore, La Virtù
Zachary Wilder, Nutrice
Douglas Williams, Littore
Jesse Blumberg, Mercurio

Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble

Robert Mealy, concertmaster
Cynthia Roberts, violin; Laura Jeppesen, viola; David Morris, violoncello; Paul O'Dette, chitarrone; Stephen Stubbs, Baroque guitar & chitarrone; Luca Guglielmi & Jörg Jacobi, harpsichord; Erin Headley, viola da gamba & lirone; Maxine Eilander, Baroque harp