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L'incoronazione di Poppea (2000)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Music  |  25 July 2000 (France)
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In the prologue Fortune, Virtue and Cupid argue about their respective powers. Love sets out to demonstrate his supremacy, in what follows. In the street outside Poppaea's house, Otho ... See full summary »


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Title: L'incoronazione di Poppea (TV Movie 2000)

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Credited cast:
Mireille Delunsch ...
Anne Sofie von Otter ...
Sylvie Brunet ...
Charlotte Hellekant ...
Jean-Paul Fouchécourt ...
Denis Sedov ...
Nicole Heaston ...
Drusilla, Virtù
Cassandre Berthon ...
Damigella, Amore
Allison Cook ...
Fortuna, Valleto
François Piolino ...
Lucano, Soldiere II
Thierry Grégoire ...
Famigliere I, Pallade
Ulas Inan Inaç ...
Famigliere III
Luc Coadou ...
Littore, Liberto
Marc Minkowski ...
Himself - Direction musicale
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael Bennett ...
Famigliere II, Mercurio, Soldiere I


In the prologue Fortune, Virtue and Cupid argue about their respective powers. Love sets out to demonstrate his supremacy, in what follows. In the street outside Poppaea's house, Otho complains at her infidelity. He was her lover, but now she is sleeping within with Nero, the Emperor, while his two soldiers guard the house. The couple emerge, as dawn breaks, and sing of their love. With her nurse Arnalta Poppaea reveals her ambition to become Empress, while elsewhere Octavia, Empress, wife of Nero, and of the imperial family of Augustus, laments her husband's desertion. Seneca tries to comfort her, mocked by her page, and is warned by Pallas Athene of his coming death. Nevertheless he dares to advise his old pupil, Nero, that he should not cast aside Octavia. Nero insists that he will go his own way. Otho overhears Nero and Poppaea, he promising to make her Empress and she urging the discarding of Seneca, whose death Nero now orders. Otho is definitively rejected by Poppaea Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music





Release Date:

25 July 2000 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le couronnement de Poppée  »

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High sperm count
26 June 2008 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

Musically this is a top-notch performance of Poppea. Mark Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre really know this period and they have first rate soloists, particularly Anne Sofie von Otter as Nerone and Mireille Delunsch as Poppaea. Bass Denis Sadof is about 40 years too young to be convincing as Seneca but there are no complaints vocally. Charlotte Hellekant has sonorous low notes as Ottone but does not bring out any of the humour of the character. Sylvie Brunet as Ottavia, Nerone's spurned wife has all the notes but does not arouse our sympathy. Jean-Paul Fouchécourt as Arnalta, the pantomime dame, has a surprisingly sweet voice.

This Lyon Opera production has a simple but effective set but things go badly wrong in the costume department. Nearly everyone wears pink long johns. If you have seen the film "Everything you always wanted to know about sex...." you will be reminded of Woody Allen dressed as a sperm. The exception to this dress code is Anne Sofie von Otter who wears a succession of glitzy trouser suits so that she looks like Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. Von Otter tries to be a mad, bad Roman emperor but she comes over as too feminine and too Scandanavian.

In most operas the participants are not masters of their own fate. They are at the mercy of the gods and have to submit to their destinies. This is particularly true of Montiverdi's operas where the gods actually appear on stage and are seen to manipulate the human characters. The only version of Poppea that I have seen that handles this aspect satisfactorily is Peter Hall's 1984 film of his Glyndebourne production. Peter Hall also successfully captured the humour and the sexuality that is inherent in this opera. His Nerone and Poppea are first seen having a roll in the hay. Too often in this Lyon production, including the famous final "Pur ti miro" the singers are at opposite ends of the stage, as though one of them is suffering from a bad attack of halitosis. So, ultimately, we have a brilliantly played and sung version of Poppea that is let down by unimaginative direction.

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