Magazine article Gramophone

Monteverdi: '3X Poppea'

Magazine article Gramophone

Monteverdi: '3X Poppea'

Article excerpt

Monteverdi [DVD] '3x Poppea'  L'incoronazione di Poppea Birgitte Christensen sop            Poppea Jacek Laszczkowski ten              Nerone Tim Mead counterten                 Ottone 

Orchestra of the Norwegian National Opera / Alessandro de Marchi

Stage director Ole Anders Tandberg Video directors Anja Sta bell, Stein-Roger Bull Recorded 2010

L'incoronazione di Poppea  Patricia Schuman sop          Poppea Richard Croft ten             Nerone Jeffrey Gall counterten       Ottone 

Concerto Koln / Rene Jacobs

Stage director Michael Hampe

Video director Jose Montes-Baquer

Recorded at the Schwetzingen SWR Festival, 1993

L'incoronazione di Poppea

Gauthier Dance

Choreographer Christian Spuck

Video director Nikolai Vialkowitsch

Recorded at Theaterhaus Stuttgart, July 2013

EuroArts (M) (3) [DVD] 205 6318 (6h 49' * NTSC * 16:9/4:3 * DTS5.1, DD5.1 & PCM stereo * O * s) Includes synopsis

L'incoronazione di Poppea has always been the subject of revisionist fascination. The first modern performance, directed by Vincent d'Indy at the Schola Cantorum in Paris in 1905, was sung in French, and the heavily cut music was extensively recomposed--d'Indy proclaimed that 'it has been my intention to produce a work of art, not of archaeology'. This kind of attitude to creativity has prevailed in plenty of interventionist reinventions of Poppea, three of which are contained within EuroArts' triple-whammy DVD collection.

Rene Jacobs's liberal composition of an orchestral 'realisation' is intrusive tinkering on a par with Leppard and Harnoncourt before him but Michael Hampe's sparse staging (Schwetzingen, 1993) is an intelligently taut drama that delineates the plot and characters with admirable clarity. Set atop a globe of the world, simple props are used sparingly and to concentrated effect (the knife presented to Harry Peeters's dignified Seneca and a throne and crown crop up as required). Nerone is transposed down an octave for tenor Richard Croft, whose performance is imperious, ardent and devious; the clash between the selfish emperor and his philosophical tutor's unwelcome wise counsel has vivid confrontational tension. Patricia Schuman's manipulative Poppea, Kathleen Kuhlmann's icy Ottavia and Darla Brook's courageous Drusilla are all a good fit for their characters; only Jeffrey Gall's pallid Ottone is underwhelming.

Alessandro de Marchi uses similar techniques to Jacobs for Norwegian National Opera (2010) but, apart from a couple of dashes of percussion-adorned flamenco and one particularly kitsch mutation into cocktail-lounge jazziness, he tends to let continuo-based accompaniments speak more naturally for themselves. …

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