LSM Newswire

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rampant greed and ambition fuel Monteverdi's Coronation of Poppea

Rampant greed, lust and ambition fuel Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea

Opera Atelier presents The Coronation of Poppea, Claudio Monteverdi’s final masterpiece, at the Elgin Theatre April 25, 26, 28, 29, May 1 and 2, 2009. Set in the decadent court of the Roman Emperor Nero in 64 AD, the opera is based on the true story of the courtesan Poppea, Nero’s fiercely ambitious mistress, who aspires to be Empress of the Roman Empire. Poppea will resort to any means – treachery, seduction, and murder – in order to realize her goal.

When The Coronation of Poppea premiered at the Venice Carnival in 1642, it was the first opera to be based on real historical figures rather than gods and goddesses of mythology and as such secured its place as a milestone in operatic history. Opera Atelier’s production - a lavish spectacle of love, power and greed – first debuted at the prestigious Houston Grand Opera, and then played to sold-out houses in Toronto in 2002.

This production was originally conceived as a vehicle for the astonishing male soprano Michael Maniaci who returns to Toronto to reprise his role of Nero. Canadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber makes her Opera Atelier debut in the role of Ottavia, and soprano Peggy Kriha Dye sings the role of Poppea. They are joined by Olivier Laquerre (Ottone), Laura Pudwell (Arnalta/Virtue), João Fernandes (Seneca) in his OA debut, Carla Huhtanen (Drusilla), Tracy Smith Bessette (Fortune/Venus), Vicki St. Pierre (Nurse), Curtis Sullivan (Liberto), Artists of Atelier Ballet, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir under the baton of conductor David Fallis.

The Coronation of Poppea is directed by Marshall Pynkoski and choreographed by Jeannette Lajeunesse-Zingg, Opera Atelier's co-artistic directors, with set designs by Gerard Gauci, costumes by Dora Rust-D’Eye, and lighting by Kevin Fraser.

Performances are at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge Street) and begin at 7:30 p.m. with the exception of the April 26th matinee at 3 p.m., and will be sung in Italian with English SURTITLESTM .

Tickets for The Coronation of Poppea are $30 to $135 and are available by calling TicketMaster at 416-872-5555, on-line at or at the Elgin Theatre box office. For more information visit . Operatix are $20 and may be purchased by people under the age of 30 with valid I.D. in person at the Elgin Theatre Box Office (subject to availability). Group discounts (15 people +) are available by calling 416.703.3767 ext. 22.

Opera Atelier gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, the George Cedric Metcalf Foundation, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Creative Trust, and Anna Guthrie.

2008/09 Season Sponsor: Sun Life Financial

Production Sponsor: BMO Financial Group

2008/09 Major Sponsors: Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust Music, The Dominion of Canada General Assurance Company

Michael Maniaci’s appearance as Nero is generously underwritten by Jerry and Joan Lozinski.

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