Saturday, 5 June 2010

the coronation of poppea

blood. love. sex. power. violence. death.

i consider an opera, just as a film or theatre-play, to be really great art when it succeeds in engaging me, my thoughts, my feelings. two out of four operas here in oslo belong to this category, the first one being wagners tannhäuser (review is still to come, it's lurking halfdone somewhere on my laptop..) and the second one being the coronation of poppea by monteverdi, which i went to see about three weeks ago, and again last friday.

the story is as simple as it is complex. at the core, there is nero, married to a woman he's not interested in anymore and in love (or rather, infatuated) with poppea who in turn is not interested anymore in her husband ottone and fantasizes about marrying nero. obviously, nero wants to get rid of his wife who wants to get rid of poppea, and therefore commands poppeas brokenhearted lover to kill her. things don't go as planned and in the end everybody is dead except nero and poppea who live happily ever after in a sea of blod. or at least until they lose interest in each other, but that's another story.

the nero we meet is a yucky guy, slick and disgusting and still, in all his power, also very intriguing. he is not really interested in politics. not in women per se either. above all, he is interested in his own pleasure. if that includes killing the one or other opponent, that's fine with him. if marriage is the way to keep the woman who gives him most pleasure, well than that's the way to go. love, sex, power, they all get easily mixed up - and what does nero care as long as nero get's what he wants?

this is definitely not an opera for the faint of heart. it is tragic and beautiful, it breaks your heart and makes you feel sick, it makes you laugh out loud, just to let the laughter get stuck in your throat a minute later.

there was fabulous music, following the sentiments of the characters, adding contrast and humour, as well as widening the spectrum of what baroque music can be and can do by adding some jazz influences. the meldodies were not only well built and played, but the direction of the whole opera interacted extremely well with text and music. a truly amazing experience, tragic, comic, brutal and above all, just as contemporary as it was almost 400 years ago.

pictures from dno&b

1 comment:

Marie said...

Danke für deine Kommentare!
Ich bin aber keine echte Bloggerin. Ich bin weg und dann mal wieder. Es wird aber in der virtuellen Welt nicht unterstützt. Es ist mir aber ganz ehrlich egal. Ich bin aber froh, dass einige freuen, dass ich wieder was schreiben. Und ich werde mehr freuen, wenn du auch mehr von deinem Leben in Oslo erzählst. Es ist bestimmt ganz spannend und hoffentlich nicht so einsam.