Opera Scotland

Incoronazione di Poppea 2012Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Read more about the opera Coronation of Poppea

This early example of music drama is arguably Claudio Monteverdi's greatest work, and has now been performed several times by the Conservatoire students. As with last season's Rape of Lucretia, it was staged in the small scale surroundings of the Alexander Gibson Opera Studio, permitting a superbly intimate delivery of the drama. A notable feature of what was a most accomplished enterprise was the impressively fluent and natural delivery of the Italian text from the entire cast.

With the exception of the deep bass role of Seneca, elegantly sung, and the travesti part of the elderly nurse Arnalta, given a suitably ribald reading at the correct tenor pitch, the major roles showed off what a superb crop of sopranos the Conservatoire boasts at present. There was no vocal weakness, and Mark Hathaway also succeeded in differentiating the characters, with the students showing great confidence on stage.

As with the last time students mounted the piece, in 2005, the pit band was tiny - a string quartet, organ, two harpsichords, and most importantly, baroque guitar and theorbo. Timothy Dean, at one of the harpsichords, directed the musicians with his back to the stage, and the singers seemed to have a relaxed sense of control over their performances which was very effective.

If there was a minor quibble with this enterprise it was the basic layout used. There was no set as such, just a long, narrow platform a couple of feet high, entering from either wing, and crossing in front of the band. There was an additional platform in front of this, dividing the audience. It all sounded well, but sightlines were variable, and the lighting gantries at either side must have dazzled large sections of the audience, who were stretched the full width of the hall. The supertitle screens at either side were frequently obscured by performers lurking or eavesdropping in the shadows. The raised platform used for Lucretia was much more effective. Nevertheless, this was an absorbing production, underlining how suited the Gibson Studio will be for baroque works in years to come.

Performance Cast

Fortuna Goddess of Fortune

Louise Kemény

Virtù Goddess of Virtue

Libby Catlin

Amore Cupid

Klaudia Korzeniewska

First Soldier of Nero's bodyguard

John Findon

Second Soldier of Nero's bodyguard

Richard Pratt

Poppea Nero's mistress

Jessica Leary

Nerone Nero, Emperor of Rome

Catriona Morison

Ottavia Octavia, Empress, Nero's wife

Laura Margaret Smith

Ottone Otto, former lover of Poppea

Catarina Rodrigues

Seneca a philosopher, Nero's former tutor

Andrew Tipple

Drusilla Otto's lover

Elinor Rolfe Johnson

Nutrice Octavia's nurse

Ayaka Tanimoto

Arnalta Poppea's nurse

Raoni Hübner

Liberto a freedman (former slave)

Andreas Backlund

Valletto page in Octavia's household

Hazel McBain

Damigella maidservant in Octavia's household

Louise Kemény

Pallade Pallas Athene, goddess of wisdom and justice

Libby Catlin

Mercurio Mercury, messenger of the Gods

Daniel O'Connor

Lucano Lucan, a poet

Luke Sinclair

Littore Lictor

Brian McBride

Student in Seneca's entourage

Jorg Delfos

James Slimings

Brian McBride

Performance DatesIncoronazione di Poppea 2012

Map List

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland | Glasgow

3 Nov, 19.15 5 Nov, 19.15 6 Nov, 19.15 8 Nov, 19.15

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