English Touring Opera to Perform Productions of JASON, THE CORONATION OF POPPEA, and AGRIPPINA, Nov 20-23
English Touring Opera (ETO) performs productions of Cavalli's Jason, Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea and Handel's Agrippina at Exeter Northcott Theatre from Wednesday 20 November to Saturday 23 November.
The operas were all written to be performed during Venice's annual Carnival, and embody the wit and humour of Carnival season. All three productions this November are sung in English, in full costume and with a baroque orchestra. Agrippina and Jason are new productions, whilst The Coronation of Poppea is a revival of ETO's co-production last year with the Royal College of Music.
Alongside the operas ETO is also performing Music for Vespers, a concert of Handel's sacred music on Sunday 24 November at Exeter Cathedral. The concert sees ETO's orchestra and soloists joining forces with local choirs Counterpoint, Isca Voices and the Gentlemen of Exeter Cathedral's Choir.
ETO is working this season with The Old Street Band, a 'period' baroque orchestra performing on exact replicas of the musical instruments from Monteverdi, Handel and Cavalli's day, including the dulcian and the theorbo, a forerunner of the modern guitar.
Cavalli's comedy Jason is loosely based on the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece and was a runaway hit when it premiered in Venice in 1649, proving one of the most popular operas of the century. After Jason abandons his wife for the sorceress Medea, he has to journey back home surrounded by a motley cast of characters including Hercules and the god Jupiter.
Jason is performed at Exeter Northcott Theatre on Wednesday 20 November at 7.30pm.
The Coronation of Poppea was the final opera Monteverdi composed, and is often described as his greatest achievement, depicting both the grandeur of Imperial Rome and the sleaze and scandal surrounding its leaders.
The story deals with the affair between Roman emperor Nero and his young mistress Poppea, who eventually triumphs to be crowned Empress. The opera has been seen as immoral for punishing virtue and rewarding greed, but also praised for its subtle examinations of human feelings.
The Coronation of Poppea is performed at Exeter Northcott Theatre on Thursday 21 November at 7.30pm.
Agrippina is widely regarded as Handel's first great operatic work , and uses many of the same characters as The Coronation of Poppea. The scheming, politically skilled title character is Nero's mother, and the story deals with her plot to overthrow the Emperor Claudius and install her son in his place.
The opera, a sharp satirical comedy, combines Handel's distinctively beautiful music with topical allusions to the politicians of its day. ETO's new production is sung in an English translation made specifically for this production by director James Conway.
Agrippina is performed at Exeter Northcott Theatre on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 November at 7.30pm.
Music for Vespers marks both the first time ETO has ever performed at Exeter Cathedral, and the final performance of the company's Autumn season. The concert includes music written by Handel to celebrate the deliverance of Rome from an earthquake, and the extravagant, daring Dixit Dominus.
Handel: Music for Vespers is performed at Exeter Cathedral on Sunday 24 November at 7.30pm.
Booking for ETO's performances at Exeter Northcott Theatre and Exeter Cathedral is now open - for tickets to all performances go to www.exeternorthcott.co.uk or call 01392 493 493.