Photo: Sam Oberter


Opera Performance of Michael Hersch's Poppaea

Wien Modern, Austria

"Poppaea is an opera about a woman whose desire – for power, love, recognition, for her mother she lost at a young age, and for her own motherhood – is boundless; a woman whose intelligence matches her beauty, a woman who has to endure a great deal making her way in a world where women are systematically silenced. The violence that exists in this world is extreme. The question is: How far have we come? How little progress have we made?" (Michael Hersch and Stephanie Fleischmann)

Following Michael Hersch's chamber music trilogy sew me into a shroud of leaves, Wien Modern is now premiering his opera Poppaea. The subject matter of this production is extraordinary, both musically and artistically: with exciting dramatic differences to Monteverdi's genre-defining work, the historical material around Poppaea, Nero, Octavia and the people of Rome is transformed here into a haunting tale of the pursuit of power, love, affirmation, revenge, life and death. A gloomy, out-of-control scene full of abuse of power and contempt for humanity, full of violence and destruction, shows, in visually powerful images, a raging path into the abyss.

The immoderation of the almost 2000 year old model as a substrate to the current immoderation of today's power figures form a challenge for the premiere directed by Markus Bothe. In intense exchange with the composer and the librettist Stephanie Fleischmann, in dialogue with the performers, an extraordinary opera production is created.

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