Sunday, January 27, 2013

Paul Thompson in West Edge Opera's L'incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi

Paul Thompson
West Edge Opera (formerly Berkeley Opera) is performing Claudio Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea in a new edition created by Mark Streshinsky and Gilbert Martinez. Performances will be on February 1, 2 and 3 and tickets are available online.

Seneca, a philosopher and Nero's tutor, will be played by Paul Thompson. The young bass studied with the Bay Area Summer Opera Theatre Institute and the American Institute of Musical Studies. He has performed a number of roles on the West Coast, including Dr. Grenvil in Verdi's La Traviata with Opera San Jose, the title character in Donizetti's Don Pasquale with Nevada Opera Theater and Sarastro in Mozart's Magic Flute at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Michael Schopper sings "Solitudine amata" from L'Incoronazione di Poppea:

Poppea is one of the earliest operas ever written. But even in 1642 when it was written, sensuality ruled the day. Emperor Nero can’t get his mind off the beautiful Poppea. He thinks about her more than he thinks about his country. He certainly thinks about her more than he thinks about the Empress.

Nero is Christine Brandes, Poppea is Emma McNairy and Ottone is the rising countertenor sensation Ryan Belongie.


  1. Ryan Belongie is singing what role (Ottone ?)
    Xerxes is the title role of Handel's opera Xerxes (Serse)
    in which Mr. Belongie san the part of Xerxes (Serse)
    brother Arsamene.

    Thank you.
    Bruce Wetmore

  2. I was in the audience last night's opening of Poppea. Paul acquitted himself nobly as Seneca. It must have been a challenge to portray Seneca in this production as his stage persona was confined to a wheelchair of abed. Usually physical movement is a big part of creating a character onstage. Paul had to let his voice do the work and that it did to fine effect. Bravo.