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© DR / Hamburgische Staatsoper

Händel Agrippina

From 10 December TO 15 December 2021
Staatsoper - Hamburg

Händel : Agrippina

  • Ensemble Resonanz
  • Conductor
    Riccardo Minasi
  • Director
    Barrie Kosky
  • Performers
    Agrippina: Alice Coote
    Nerone: Franco Fagioli
    Poppea: Julia Lezhneva
    Ottone: Iestyn Davies
    Claudio: Luca Tittoto
    Pallante: Renato Dolcini
    Lesbo: Chao Deng
  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Staatsoper - Hamburg Location Grosse Theaterstrasse 25 - 20354 Hamburg Allemagne

During their frequent journeys to Venice, the merchants of Hamburg had many a chance to note the success of Europe's first public opera, opened in 1637. In 1678, some of these rich bourgeois thus founded, on the Geese Market, a permanent opera. It was the first in Germany, a fact of which the Hamburgers were very proud. Driven by a strong sense of nationalism that preferred to blatently ignore French and Italian opera, as well as a shrewd business acumen, Hamburg's Opern-Theatrum specialized in defending the German lyrical repertoire, ins-pite of the clergy's prostests and heated debates that reached as far as the University of Iena. One could listen to the works of composers such as Telemann and Handel; the latter was hired as a violinist and harpsichord player by the Opera at the age of 18. A few years later, the same Handel became the talk of the town, when he fought a duel with Johann Mattheson, a rival composer. In 1738, the hall went bankrupt, ruined by the public's renewed interest in Italian opera. A new building was constructed in 1765, billing both theatre and lyrical works.


It was not before 1827 that the location of the actual Staatsoper became that of an opera house. At first, the German Weber, the Italian Rossini, and the Frenchman Auber shared the billing, before Wagner and Verdi (performed here as of 1845, for the first time in Germany) became the house's undisputed stars. Gustav Mahler was appointed at the Opera's head in 1891. Under his direction, the opera freshened up its rather conventional programming (and became equipped with electricity). Mahler hired the young Bruno Walter as coach, before another of his proteges, Otto Klemperer, took over the musical direction of the institution in 1910.


Greatly affected by the financial crisis that followed the First World War, and partially destroyed during the Second, the Opera opened in 1946 with difficulty, performing in front of 600 spectators seated around what remained of the stage. But the company, that included names such as Hans Hotter, Martha Modi, Hermann Prey, Elisabeth Grümmer, and Astrid Varnay, rapidely acquired an international reputation. Settled in the newly reconstructed opera house in 1955 and led by such brilliant managers as Rolf Liebermann (1959-1973, he returned in 1985), the Staatsoper became a Mecca of contemporary opera, welcoming composers such as Stravinsky, who came to conduct to celebrate his eightieth birthday, Penderecki, Messiaen, Kagel, Xenakis, and Helmut Lachenmann.


The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.




Written by George Frideric Händel, this opera in three parts tells the tale of the mother of Nero as she plans to make him Emperor and bring about the downfall of Rome. The opera was composed for the Venice Carnevale season of 1709-10 and was premiered at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo on Boxing Day, 26th December 1709. Many critics today think that the opera is Händel's first masterpiece and it is one of the most popular pieces in the ongoing revival of his works. It has been [u]performed to great acclaim and given a modern makeover[/u] in London and New York.


The three part opera takes place in Rome and tells the story of the mother of Nero as she plans to secure the Emperor's throne for him after hearing of the death of her husband, Claudius. She will stop at nothing to achieve her ambitions and when she hears that Claudius is not dead she uses his love for Poppaea to make him denounce Otho, who is also in love with her, as a traitor and allow Nero to become Emperor. A fine comedy with many unique pieces.

Act 1

When Agrippina hears that Claudius has been lost at sea, she enlists her two freedmen Pallas and Narcissus in support of her son by a previous marriage, Nero and sets about making him Emperor of Rome. As she is about to ascend to the throne in front of the senate with Nero, she is stopped when Lesbus, Claudius servant rushes in with the news that he is not dead and was saved by Otho. She knows that both Claudius and Otho are in love with Poppaea and uses her knowledge to come between them and make Claudius denounce Otho, his chosen successor as a traitor.

Act 2

Pallas and Narcissus turn against the evil mother of Nero when they realise that she has tricked them. Poppaea tries to convince Claudius that Otho is innocent but his plotting wife manages to convince him that he should abdicate in Nero's favour. He agrees because he wants to be with Poppaea again.

Act 3

Poppaea and Otho are reconciled and she has hidden him in her bedroom when Nero comes to profess his love for her. She manages to trick him into hiding too when Claudius arrives. She tells him that it was in fact Nero and not Otho who had coerced her into rejecting Claudius. Nero leaves. Otho and Poppaea tell Claudius of their love. Pallas and Narcissus reveal Agrippina's plot to Claudius so he announces that Poppaea and Nero will be married and that Otho will be Emperor and accuses his wife of treachery. Nobody is happy so in a change of heart, Claudius makes Nero his successor and allows Poppaea and Otho to marry.


Agrippina, wife of Claudius, mother of Nero - soprano
Nero - soprano castrato
Otho - contralto
Poppaea - soprano
Claudius, Emperor of Rome - bass


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