A woman's success story in a man's world – L'incoronazione di Poppea at the Opera

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Featuring Bori Keszei in the title role, the Hungarian State Opera presents Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea on 10 October 2020 with new orchestrations by Máté Bella. The production is directed by András Almási-Tóth, conducted by Gergely Vajda.

L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642) is Monteverdi's final opera, but the first piece of opera literature that diverts from mythological themes and focuses on a historical plot and figures. Poppea, a heroine of ancient Rome is the lover of Emperor Nero. However, their mutual attraction is hindered by position of the emperor and the fact that they are both married to someone else. Both Poppea's husband Ottone and Nero's wife Ottavia love their unfaithful spouses. The eager and determined Poppea does everything to achieve her goal: the throne. She persuades the emperor to cut off Ottavia and condemn Seneca, the symbol of prudence, legality and decency to death. When the assassination attempt by the desperate Ottone is thwarted by Amor, the spouses are banished, and the marriage bred in sin is glorified by the god of love.

Taking the new possibilities offered by the Bánffy Stage of the Eiffel Art Studios into consideration, the artistic director of the Opera, András Almási-Tóth places the timeless plot inspired by history into today's world with the help of sets by Lili Izsák and costumes by Krisztina Lisztopád. The main roles are sung by Bori Keszei (Poppea), Tibor Szappanos (Nero), Andrea Szántó (Ottavia), Krisztián Cser (Ottone) and Péter Fried (Seneca) with Oltán Daragó, Bernadett Wiedemann, Diána Kiss, Mária Farkasréti, Andrea Brassói-Jőrös, Eszter Zemlényi, Gergely Dargó as well as Attila Varga-Tóth and Lőrinc Kósa university students in supporting roles. To enhance the timelessness of the piece, the opera can be heard with the orchestrations by composer Máté Bella commissioned by the Hungarian State Opera. Similarly to the 2016 production of The Fairy Queen, the production features a jazz quintet formed by musicians of Modern Art Orchestra led by Kornél Fekete-Kovács. The Hungarian state Opera Orchestra is conducted by Gergely Vajda.

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