The Coronation of Poppea

June 21, 23, 26 & 28, 2018 | 7:30 p.m.
July 1, 2018 | 3:00 p.m.
School for Creative & Performing Arts

Music by Claudio Monteverdi
Libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenello

Sung in Italian with projected translation
Performance length: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Rated PG-13 for adult content, specifically suggestive physical intimacy, multiple incidents of assault, and a suicide

All she wanted was everything.

Abandoning her old lover, Poppea only has eyes for Emperor Nero…and his crown. Ottavia, Nero’s wife and empress, crafts elaborate schemes and issues dire threats to hold onto her husband. But when the gods are on Poppea’s side, how can she lose? Love might conquer all, but it leaves a trail of destruction.

One of the first operas, Monteverdi’s 1642 Baroque masterpiece tells a dramatic story of passion and intrigue with some of the most transcendently beautiful music in all of opera. It’s presented here in a new production at SCPA’s intimate Corbett Theater under the direction of the “superbly imaginative” Zack Winokur (Parterre Box). Fresh from her Metropolitan Opera debut, soprano Sarah Shafer lends her “luminous voice” to the role of Poppea alongside the “vocally brilliant” countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo as Emperor Nero (The New York Times). Members of the early music ensemble Catacoustic Consort join the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in realizing Monteverdi’s exquisite score.


Opera News
“The entire evening was a delight, a model for opera companies wishing to explore older music.” Read the review.

Seen and Heard International
"Packed with riches... the cast is top-notch." Read the review.

Cincinnati Business Courier
"Costanzo’s Nero was both lustful and chilling, and the singer dominated the stage whenever he was present." Read the review.

"A superb cast of young singers." Read the review.

The Oakwood Register
"Captured the Baroque sound to perfection... Fascinating and fabulous." Read the review.

Opera Lively
"Gary Thor Wedow led a sprightly reading of Monteverdi’s score." Read the review.

Jay Harvey Upstage
"Gloriously performed and conceived with hints of period authenticity leavened by modernist simplicity." Read the review.



Costume sketches by costume designer Amanda McGee

Cast & Creative Team

Poppea  Sarah Shafer
Nero (June performances)  Anthony Roth Costanzo
Ottavia  Sarah Mesko
Drusilla  Melissa Harvey
Ottone  Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen
Seneca  Alex Rosen
Arnalta  Rebecca Ringle Kamarei
Valletto/Nero (July 1)  Daniel Moody
Lucano  Andrew Owens
Liberto  Christian Pursell

Conductor  Gary Thor Wedow
Stage Director  Zack Winokur
Scenic Designer  Charlap Hyman & Herrero
Costume Designer  Amanda McGee
Lighting Designer  Thomas C. Hase
Wig & Make-up Designer  James Geier
Catacoustic Consort Artistic Director  Annalisa Pappano


Learn More

Opera Insights
Join us for a pre-curtain lecture one hour before each performance in SCPA's Mayerson Theater. Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director, provides overviews and insights into the opera's history, music, and production. Free to all ticket holders. No reservations required.

In the News
7.2.2018 CityBeat: Local singer takes a lead role at Cincinnati Opera's final performance of 'The Coronation of Poppea'
6.27.2018 The Oakwood Register: Cincinnati Opera's 'Coronation of Poppea' a crowning achievement in the Queen City
6.25.2018 CityBeat: Cincinnati Opera's 'The Coronation of Poppea' Features a Thrilling Young Cast
6.23.2018 Seen and Heard International: A Seventeenth-Century Embarrassment of Operatic Riches
6.22.2018 Opera Lively: 'L'incoronazione di Poppea' at Cincinnati Opera
6.22.2018 Cincinnati Business Courier: Costanzo delivers searing portrayal of Nero in ‘Poppea’
6.22.2018 Cincinnati Business Courier: Countertenors get moment in the sun
6.22.2018 Jay Harvey Upstage: Cincinnati Opera's 'Coronation of Poppea': First-century Rome meets 21st-century America, mediated by Monteverdi
6.8.2018 Cincinnati Business Courier: As Cincinnati Opera nears its 100th anniversary, collaboration is key
6.7.2018 Cincinnati Enquirer: Behind the curtain: Cincinnati Opera's back at Music Hall with a more functional backstage
6.01.2018 Movers & Makers Cincinnati: Old, new, borrowed, blue and 'Traviata' too
5.30.2018 Cincinnati MagazineCincinnati Opera's Killer Summer Lineup
4.15.2018 WQXR Operavore: Warm Weather Opera Worth Traveling For
7.14.2017 Cincinnati Enquirer: Ambitious fare planned for Cincinnati Opera's move back to Music Hall