Monday, October 26, 2020
‘Agrippina’ Features Controlling Empress in a Black Comedy
Friday, February 28, 2020


Georg Frideric Handel’s tale of intrigue and impropriety in ancient Rome will hit the big screen on Saturday as the Metropolitan Opera presents “Agrippina.”

The Met: Live in HD screening will start at 11 a.m. at the Big Wood 4 Cinema in Hailey in partnership with Sun Valley Opera. Doors open at 10:15 a.m. for coffee sponsored by Hailey Coffee Company.

The running time is three hours and 35 minutes, including a 25-minute intermission.

The opera opens as the Empress Agrippina receives word that the ship of her husband—Roman Emperor Claudio—has capsized, presumably killing him shortly after his triumphant conquest of Britain. Determined for her son Nerone to succeed her husband, she urges Nerone to do good deeds around the city, even as she recruits two of Claudio’s freedmen to the cause, promising them sexual favors in return.

But—oops—it turns out that Claudio has survived. And, what’s more, he’s rewarded Officer Ottone who saved him by naming him as his successor.

All is not lost, though, as Agrippina concocts a way to destroy Ottone by telling Poppea, the woman he loves, that he has betrayed her. And, so, begins a tangled story.

The cast features Joyce DiDonato, an American lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano who is known for her interpretations of operas and concert works in the 19th century romantic era, as the controlling, power-hungry Agrippina.

Brenda Rae, an Appleton, Wis., native, plays the seductive Poppea. Iestyn Davies, who sang in the boys choir of St. John’s College in Cambridge, England, plays the ambitious Ottone. Matthew Rose, an English operatic bass, plays the weary Emperor Claudio. And Kate Lindsey, a mezzo soprano from the United States, plays Nerone.

The director of the black comedy is Sir David McVicar, who trained at the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Conductor is Harry Bicket.


Richard Wagner’s “Der Fliegende Hollander” will be screened March 14.





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