POPPAEA - an opera in one act. Music by Michael Hersch (b.1971), Libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann. Ah Young Hong - POPPAEA; Steve Davislim - NERO; Silke Gäng - OCTAVIA; Svea Schildknecht, Vera Hiltbrunner, Francisca Näf - HANDMAIDENS; Ensemble SoloVoices Ensemble Phoenix Basel Conducted by Jürg Henneberger. A Production of Wien Modern and ZeitRäume Basel - Live Recording.

Catalogue Number: 04Z030

Label: New Focus Recordings

Reference: FCR390

Format: CD

Price: $21.00

Description: “Hersch ... is the explorer of an unconditional, radical expressivity that reveals the human abyss without any palliation. In music. In a new, crystal-clear beauty.” — Georg Friedrich Haas. Composer Michael Hersch's epic setting of Poppaea turns the classic tale of Nero inside out, examining it from multiple angles and unearthing the powerful lessons it holds for contemporary society. Hersch, along with vocalists Ah Young Hong, Steve Davislim, Silke Gang, with Ensemble Phoenix Basel and Ensemble SoloVoices, delivers a wrenching version of the tale, challenging assumptions and forcing the listener to ask difficult questions about history and the inherent biases that are ingrained into its mainstream understanding. "This opera takes us to one of the most notorious periods of imperial Roman history, the age of Nero. But while the writings that survive from ancient history often center the voices and worldview of men, Poppaea takes us into a world of women. In doing so, it stages two intertwined stories. The first is a story about Nero’s two wives, Octavia and Poppaea, as they wage a war fueled by women’s rage within the heart of the imperial palace. The second is a story about the rage of men against powerful women and the ways in which that rage vents itself – on their bodies, on their supporters, on their legacies. Never before had a Roman emperor’s divorce of an unloved wife threatened to undo his power; never after would a Roman emperor’s violent obsession with a new wife echo so clearly in eternity. This new work takes us back in time to these violent years but sheds the detached male eyes of ancient history in order to foreground the emotional interiority of the women who experienced these events, especially the woman for whom Nero would risk everything: Poppaea." 2 CDs.


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