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L'Incoronazione di Poppea

on May 22, 2021
This is the page for the performance on May 22, 2021.
Music Claudio Monteverdi Text Gian Francesco Busenello
→ Dramma musicale in einem Prolog & drei Akten


Cast 22.05.2021

Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado
Inszenierung & Bühne Jan Lauwers
Costume Design Lemm& Barkey
Lighting Design Ken Hioco
Choreography Jan Lauwers Paul Blackman
Dramaturge Elke Janssens
Nerone Kate Lindsey
Poppea Slávka Zámečníková
Ottone, früherer Gatte Poppeas Xavier Sabata
Ottavia, Neros Gemahlin Christina Bock
Seneca Willard White
Virtù / Drusilla Vera-Lotte Boecker
Solotänzerin Sarah Lutz
Solotänzer Camilo Mejía Cortés
Nutrice / Famigliare I Daniel Jenz
Arnalta Thomas Ebenstein
Amore / Valletto Isabel Signoret
Fortuna / Damigella / Amorino I Johanna Wallroth
Pallade / Venere Aurora Marthens
Lucano / Soldato I / Famigliare II Josh Lovell
Liberto / Soldato II / Console Hiroshi Amako
Littore / Tribuno / Famigliare III Erik Van Heyningen
Amorino II Katarina Porubanova
Orchester Concentus Musicus Wien
In Zusammenarbeit mit Needcompany



Fortuna and Virtù, the goddesses of fortune and virtue, quarrel over which of them is the more powerful. Amore, the god of love, steps between them and claims the highest rank for himself.


First Act

Ottone longs for Poppea. When he finds two soldiers sleeping in front of her house, he realizes that his love has a visitor: Emperor Nerone is with her. The awakened soldiers complain about Nerone’s affairs and his negligent use of power. Nerone says goodbye to Poppea. However, before he has disowned Empress Ottavia, their relationship must remain a secret. Poppea does not want to listen to Arnalta’s warnings that the world of the powerful is dangerous. Empress Ottavia knows about Nerone’s adultery. When her nurse advises her to take a lover, Ottavia reacts irritably. She sees through the laws of the world ruled by men and does not want to give Nerone an excuse for her repudiation. Even the state philosopher Seneca has no advice for her, for which a page denounces him as a hypocritical intellectual and vain self-promoter. Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom, announces to Seneca his imminent death is soon.

Nerone tells Seneca that he wants to cast out Ottavia in order to make Poppea the empress. Seneca appeals to Nerone’s reason and statesmanship. Poppea and Nerone love each other. Poppea, who knows that Seneca’s influence is blocking her way to the throne, tells Nerone that Seneca prides himself on being the real ruler. Nerone proves his potency by giving the order to commit suicide to Seneca. Ottone reproaches Poppea, but she does not give in: she belongs to Nerone. Drusilla is still in love and loyal to Ottone. But his expressions of love for his former lover are only lip service: his heart beats for Poppea.


Second Act

Seneca accepts the death sentence calmly and tells his friends that by committing suicide he will regain his lost dignity. A page and a maid flirt with each other. Nerone celebrates Seneca’s death and sings about his love for Poppea with the court poet Lucano. Ottone is terrified at his own thoughts of murdering Poppea. Ottavia orders Ottone to kill Poppea and advises him to disguise himself as a woman. When Ottone hesitates, she threatens to report him to Nerone for attempted rape. Drusilla, the nurse, and the page all ponder love, youth and old age. Ottone seeks help from Drusilla, who will do everything for his love: she gives Ottone her veil, and under its cover he should be able to approach Poppea. Poppea asks Amore to make her empress. She doesn’t want to hear Arnalta’s warnings, she becomes tired and lets herself be sung to sleep.

Amore scoffs at the people who are unable to persist in pursuing his goal. He decides to protect Poppea and to ensure his own victory. Ottone approaches Poppea, but Amore thwarts the attempted murder: Poppea wakes up and believes that Drusilla wanted to kill her. Arnalta’s cries for help make Ottone flee. Amore triumphs: he saved Poppea, now he wants to make her empress.


Third Act

Drusilla is waiting for Ottone’s return. But instead of him, Arnalta appears with the Lictor, who arrests her for attempting to murder Poppea. During interrogation, Drusilla protests her innocence. When Nerone threatens her with torture, in order not to endanger Ottone, she confesses to the crime and is sentenced to death. Ottone turns himself in, and reveals that Ottavia forced him to kill Poppea. Nerone banishes Ottone into exile, while he distinguishes Drusilla as a model of female loyalty. Nothing now also stands in the way of Ottavia’s banishment. Poppea and Nerone can hardly wait for their wedding. Arnalta has mixed feelings about her rise to the position of confidant of the new empress. Ottavia bids farewell to her homeland. Poppea is crowned empress. Amore declares himself the winner. Nerone and Poppea sing about their love.

Attendance at the performance is recommended from the age of 12.

Co-production partner

A co-production with Salzburg Festival.