Cappella Mediteranea

Monteverdi, L’Incoronazione Di Poppea

L'Incoronazione Di Poppea, Versailles, Cappella Mediterranea

Rediscover Monteverdi’s ancient drama with Leonardo García Alarcón. As the tragedy unfolds, you will be as horrified by the events on stage as astounded by the inventive musical interpretation.

What answer are we to make to the reflexion that pleasure belongs to good and bad men alike, and that bad men take as much delight in their shame as good men in noble things?

Seneca, Of a Happy Life, AD 58

The Courtesan who wanted to be Empress

The courtesan Poppea is mistress to Roman emperor Nero. She will stop at nothing to ascend to the throne. She breaks up with her lover Otto, commissions the suicide of the philosopher Seneca and has the empress Octavia repudiated. While this could have been an opera about the triumph of amorality, Monteverdi transforms it into a hymn to the power of desire and human nature in all its contradictions. While this was Monteverdi’s final opera, it also revolutionised the genre. It has lost none of its originality in this production that is driven by a young cast led by conductor and harpsichordist Leonardo García Alarcón and director Ted Huffman.

Prochaines dates

10 Avril 2024

20h00

Opéra de Toulon

Toulon, France

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12 Avril 2024

20h00

Opéra de Toulon

Toulon, France

Accéder à la billetterie

13 Avril 2024

20h00

Opéra de Toulon

Toulon, France

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Programme

The Coronation of Poppea / L’Incoronazione Di Poppea

Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643)
Il Nerone, ossia l’incoronazione di poppea

Opera with a prologue and three acts
Libretto by Giovani Francesco Busenello
First performed in 1642 at Teatro Santi Giovanni E Paolo in Venice
1650 Venice version

3h with intermission – Performed in Italian with French and English subtitles

A creation of the festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Coproduced with Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía and Opéra de Rennes.

L'Incoronazione Di Poppea, Versailles, Cappella Mediterranea

Artists

Opéra de Toulon

10, 12, 13 April 2024

Cappella Mediterranea
Leonardo García Alarcón,
Musical direction
Ted Huffman,
Staging
Johannes Schütz,
Set and original concept
Anna Wörl,
Set and adaptation
Astrid Klein,
Costumes
Bertrand Couderc,
Lighting
Antonio Cuenca Ruiz,
Dramaturgy
Maud Morillon
, Assistant stage director

Palais des Arts Reina Sofía – Valencia

11, 13, 14, 16 May 2023

Ensemble Cappella Mediterranea
Leonardo García Alarcón,
Musical direction
Ted Huffman
, Staging

Opéra Royal de Versailles

28, 29, 31 January 2023

Ensemble Cappella Mediterranea
Leonardo García Alarcón,
Musical direction
Ted Huffman
, Staging

What the press is saying

NEW YORK TIMES

“Monteverdi’s sharp ‘L’Incoronazione di Poppea’ was the highlight of a week of opera. […] Leonardo García Alarcón conducted a small but potent group from his ensemble, Cappella Mediterranea, with almost improvisatory spikiness, but without losing polish […]. When it is performed at this level, “Poppea” is acidic and exhilarating.” Zachary Woolf

TÉLÉRAMA

“Rarely have we encountered a Poppea like this. She is predatory, authoritarian and oh-so-ever determined in this highly enjoyable production at the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume from Baroque conductor Leonardo García Alarcón and director Ted Huffmann. The young cast blows us away with their magnificent singing and acting skills. Cappella Mediterranea is as full-bodied as ever, accompanying the singers with great creativity and even daring to produce sounds that belong more in a nightclub than an opera. The three-and-a-half-hour performance goes by like a dream.” Sophie Bourdais
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LA CROIX

“Leonardo Garcia Alarcon unleashes the colours and flavours of the instrumentalists of his ensemble, Cappella Mediterranea, with relish. At times, he indulges in a few mischievous sound effects, treating the score like a comic strip, but it is only to allow us to better savour Monteverdi’s inventiveness, which is in turn tender and unbridled.” Emmanuelle Giuliani
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LE FIGARO

“Never could we have imagined that the highlight of the 2022 Festival would be Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea at the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume, featuring a brilliant young cast. Evidently, their mentors are first-rate. Conductor Leonardo Garcia Alarcon transmits to them his passion for text and sound, and the dozen or so musicians of Cappella Mediterranea deploy a continuo that is as opulent as it is extravagant, with plucked string instruments that embellish and reverberate, and an organ that at times evokes a harmonium and other times an accordion!” Christian Merlin
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OLYRIX

“Leonardo García Alarcón conducts his period-instrument ensemble, Cappella Mediterranea, with instinct, fluidity and impertinence. He treats the score like a rich basso continuo, interspersed with a few decorative interludes that feature the light shades that Monteverdi brings out in the winds (cornets, recorder). The basso continuo (viola da gamba and double bass) ignites the music and stage like wildfire as the lights go out and the audience is plunged into the music. Clusters of notes that are nourished and coloured by a mix of timbres (organ, theorbo, harpsichord, harp, archlute…) are infused in the sung parts, reinforcing sentiments of malice, desolation and lust. Silences evoke the sighs of a soul in the throes of its passions. This osmosis between pit and stage, which is both blissful and striking here, is typical of the origins of opera and the laboratory-like search for a fusion between words, theatre, dance, song and music.” Florence Lethurgez, 10 July 2022
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OPÉRAONLINE

“The 12 instrumentalists of Cappella Mediterranea build a frenetic rhythm from Leonardo García Alarcón‘s imaginative conducting style, which is full of buzzing, beats and transitions. A carnal connection manifests itself at every moment in this organic landscape in motion. The conductor takes on the role of daring narrator, a king of one-second sound punchlines who is fond of hyperbole and extended metaphor. A great deal of information is conveyed by ear. The ensemble spontaneously blasts off before segueing into elegiac passages. Leonardo García Alarcón and Cappella Mediterranea offer a thousand and one faces of Monteverdi. The sun is at its zenith in Théâtre du Jeu de Paume, but don’t worry – you won’t get burned!” – Thibaut Vicq
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CONCERTCLASSIC

“It is difficult to find a single fault with this Coronation of Poppea. It is undoubtedly one of the highlights, if not the highlight, of the 2022 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.” – Michel Egéa
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LA MARSEILLAISE

“This performance of Claudio Monteverdi’s final opus, L’Incoronazione di Poppea, verges on perfection in every respect. […] We have become accustomed to excellence with Leonardo García Alarcón and Cappella Mediterranea. L’Incoronazione di Poppea was the first opera to take on a ‘historical’ subject inspired by Tacitus and Suetonius. This production presents the 1650 version of the opera. In the pit, we find a sonorous ingenuity, dynamism and depth that is unheard of. The conductor’s science is skilfully concealed behind an inventive and abundant reading of the score. […] After three hours of music, song and theatre, we’re still left wanting more.” – Patrick De Maria
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SCÈNEWEB

“At the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, a cast of exceptional young singers bring out the insolent youth and beautiful sensuality of Monteverdi’s masterpiece in a delightful performance that is as pure as it is passionate. […] All the performers, without exception, have magnificently chiselled and projected voices. The orchestra conducted by Leonardo García Alarcón, with its palette of warm, shimmering colours and shapely expressiveness, provides an accompaniment that is as danceable as it is exuberant, up until the delicately languid Pur ti miro finale.” Christophe Candoni
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DESTIMED

“The Coronation of Poppea at its best.”

“Fleur Barron, Paul-Antoine Bénos-Djian, Alex Rosen, Miles Mykkanen, Maya Kherani, Julie Roset, Laurence Kilsby, Riccardo Romeo and Yannis François. Not to forget the musicians who, under the direction of Leonardo García Alarcón, transform Cappella Mediterranea into an essential part of the performance. It is a great and beautiful work, and the triumph of this production is well-deserved.” Michel Egéa
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BACHTRACK

“Can there be a finer celebration than the one we witnessed with this incomparable Coronation of Poppea at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence? With just twelve musicians in the pit, we are looking at a four hundred-year-old opera, and yet the music seems to have been composed today, as it is so clearly, joyfully and inventively played by the musicians of Cappella Mediterranea and their conductor, Leonardo Garcia Alarcón.” – Romain Daroles, 12 juillet 2022
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PLATEA

“This music continues to amaze listeners, and even more so when it is served up by Argentina’s Leonardo García Alarcón, one of the greatest Baroque specialists. His version is precise and delicate. Watching him conduct is entertainment on par with what takes place on stage, and sometimes, quite frankly, you don’t know where to turn, because the precision of his instructions and the emotion he conveys to the musicians and singers make the music even more gripping in a way that is both descriptive and sensual. The pace never slacks. He always knows how to set the right tone for each scene, and the result can only be described as magical. A large part of the magic in the small pit of the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume can be attributed to the cast of twelve extraordinary soloists who make up Cappella Mediterranea for this occasion. To be fair, we would have to talk about each of them, as their virtuosity deserves individual praise, but there’s no room for that. Instead, I must simply point out that they are perfectly matched. They follow the conductor’s directions attentively and play a fundamental role in creating the atmosphere of the performance. […]
“Simplicity and beauty, which conceal incredible talent, go hand in hand in this Incoronazione di Poppea. It will remain fixed in my memory as one of the best performances I’ve seen in all these years I’ve covered the Festival d’Aix. Congratulations to everyone involved in this marvel.” – Javier del Olivo
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With the generous support of Vincent Meyer

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