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Crane Opera Ensemble putting on “Poppea”


POTSDAM — The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble will present “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” (“The Coronation of Poppea”) at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 through 10 in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

The opera was composed by Claudio Monteverdi to a libretto by Giovanni Busenello and first premiered in Venice in 1642. The performances will be sung in Italian with projected supertitles in English. The production, with a contemporary twist, will feature students from the Crane School of Music in the cast and orchestra.

“L’Incoronazione di Poppea” is a historical fiction account of how the Roman Emperor Nero is seduced by his mistress Poppea into making her his second wife.

“It’s really a glorified soap opera,” said stage director Carleen Graham. “It has all the elements you could want in a great opera — a sensational storyline, beautiful music and a fresh concept. We are using a good deal of modern dance and contemporary-looking materials in the production to give it a modern and updated feel.”

The production also explores gender-bending casting, using a woman to play the part of Emperor Nero and a man to play the role of Poppea’s nursemaid.

Kirk Severtson is music director, conductor and vocal coach; Don Borsh is choreographer; François Germain is vocal coach, Alexis Foster is costume designer and Tonry Lathroum is guest lighting designer.

Two north country natives have roles in the production. Juliana Alfano from Massena plays the goddess Virtue and Plattsburgh native Adam Emery is soldier 2 and a member of the ensemble.

A special education outreach performance for regional schools will take place at 9:15 a.m. Nov. 7. High school students from Canton, Malone, Lowville and Norwood-Norfolk plan to attend the performance and participate in post-performance workshops with the cast.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and faculty with ID, and are available through the Community Performance Series box office at 267-2277 or

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