classical music, opera, theatre

Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea - fully staged production

one interval
Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

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Although the programme indicates that only a certain someone will be conducting the performances, the Iván Fischer Opera Company's brand-new production also has an additional, invisible conductor involved. As the Budapest Festival Orchestra's music director puts in, in L'incoronazione di Poppea, "Amor proves that he is the one who conducts everything in the world." "And Freud would nod in agreement," he adds. This approach centred on love characterises Fischer's most recent opera production. Comprising the company, along with the orchestra, are some of the most sought-after soloists working in early music, arriving here from every corner of the earth, from Scotland to Trinidad.

L'incoronazione di Poppea is Monteverdi's greatest work in every sense of the word, as well as the first piece in the history of opera to be constructed around events that had actually taken place. This treatment of the true story of the matricidal and uxoricidal emperor - from the onstage depiction of the suicide to the consummation of the sinful love - was considered a bold undertaking. The composer also contributed to the development of the libretto, devoting special attention to every detail. Monteverdi was the world's greatest pioneer of expressing text by musical means, so it is not surprising that the work depicts things like the pain of saying farewell to one's life and home and the sounds of lust with baffling frankness, until finally an antihero and antiheroine, in one of the most beautiful and bizarre duets in music history, merge into one and proclaim the all-conquering power of love. This attraction and its two players - along with the eroticism that transcends wisdom and the seemingly mismatched characters' discovery of each other - stimulated Ivan Fischer's imagination. "They make for a strange couple," he says, "But then, isn't it all a true story?"
Portraying the title character will be Jeanine De Bique, a star singer whose "dramatic presence and versatility" have been praised by the Washington Post. In the role of Nerone, we will get to see Valer Sabadus, a countertenor born in the Romanian city of Arad and the 2020 winner of the Handel Music Prize. According to the Guardian's critic, his singing is characterised by "ravishing control and finely honed technique." Also in the cast will be Reginald Mobley, another countertenor and one who is popular for his clear, sparkling, pure, understandable and articulate voice, as Ottone, soprano Núria Rial, who can boast winning the awards for "young artist of the year" and "best opera recording", as Drusilla, and Gianluca Buratto, who has previously worked with Sir John Eliot Gardiner on his Monteverdi's operas, as Seneca. Joining them will also be some returning guests, such as Stuart Patterson, familiar from the BFO's production of Falstaff, and mezzo-soprano Luciana Mancini, whom Bachtrack said scintillated as the key figure in L'Orfeo.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest, Budapest Festival Orchestra
  • Ivan Fischer
  • Poppea
    Jeanine De Bique
  • Nerone
    Valer Sabadus
  • Ottone
    Reginald Mobley
  • Drusilla
    Núria Rial
  • Ottavia/La Virtù
    Luciana Mancini
  • Arnalta/Nutrice
    Stuart Patterson
  • Seneca
    Gianluca Buratto
  • 1. Soldato/Lucano/1. Famigliare/Tribune
    Thomas Walker
  • 2. Soldato/Liberto/2. Famigliare/Tribune
    Francisco Fernández-Rueda
  • 3. Famigliare/Littore/Console
    Peter Harvey
  • La Fortuna/Damigella/Venere
    Silvia Frigato
  • Valletto/Amore
    Jakob Geppert (member of the Chorakademie Dortmund)
  • Budapest Festival Orchestra (on period instruments)
  • Assistant director
    Hannah Gelesz
  • Costume design
    Anna Biagiotti
  • Set design
    Andrea Tocchio
  • Lighting
    Tamás Bányai
  • Stage manager
    Wendy Griffin-Reid
  • Technical director
    Robert Zentai
  • Hungarian translation and language coach
    Éva Lax
  • Director
    Ivan Fischer, Marco Gandini

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