The Coronation of Poppea

June 21, 23, 26 & 28 | 7:30 p.m.
July 1 | 3:00 p.m.
SCPA's Corbett Theater

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.


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

Jay Harvey Upstage
"The Coronation of Poppea was 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
Vallet/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