Friday, March 25, 2016

Sexy Agrippina with Damian Pass to be live streamed from Vienna

Damian Pass as Pallante in Agrippina
If you love sexy men (and women), then add the live stream of Handel’s Agrippina from the Theater an der Wien to your list of "must see" performances.  The new production from director Robert Carsen casts a satirical eye on Ancient Rome, with political and sexual machination as Agrippina schemes to place her son, Nerone (Nero), on the throne and the seductive Poppea juggles with three lovers.

The cast includes barihunk Damian Pass as Pallante, hunken-countertenor Jake Arditti as Nerone, the stunning Danielle de Niese as Poppea, Patricia Bardon in the title role, Fillippo Mineccia as Ottone, Mika Kares as Claudio, Tom Verney as Narciso and Christoph Seidl as Lesbo. Thomas Hengelbrock conducts his Balthasar Neumann Ensemble.

Jake Arditti in Agrippina
The performance will live streamed on on March 29th at 7 PM CEST (2 PM EST, 11 AM PST). There is an additional performance remaining on March 31 and tickets are available online.

In 1707-1708, Agrippina gave the young Handel his big chance to establish his reputation as an opera composer in Italy. The commission came from the famous Teatro San Giovanni Crisostomo in Venice, which was funded by the influential Grimani family. The Venetians were extremely demanding when it came to music, but Handel succeeded in creating a wise, gripping and entertaining opera on the basis of the humorous libretto about lust for power and sexual desires in Ancient Rome. The success was overwhelming.

A scene from Robert Carsen's Agrippina in Vienna
The story takes place in Rome, 54 A.D. where Agrippina is married to the Roman Emperor Claudio, who is currently away on a crusade. When the rumor surfaces that he has been killed in battle, she tries to make her son Nerone, the result of an earlier liaison with another man, emperor. It turns out, however, that Claudio is not dead, but was saved by Ottone, one of his generals. Out of gratitude, Claudio has made him his heir. Consequently, there are now two heirs. The situation is made even more complicated by the fact that Claudio, Nerone and Ottone are all in love with the same woman: Poppea. Who will win the woman and the throne? Agrippina schemes, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so. In the end, Ottone wins Poppea – for the time being – and Nerone is heir to the throne. But as we know from history and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea things are not going to remain this way for long.

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