Corinna Niemeyer has had great success with a new production of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (arranged by Ernst Krenek) at Theater St. Gallen, Switzerland. Rediscovered in the late 19th century, Monteverdi’s final opera has been arranged by a number of composers as it was found with only vocal lines and continuo, with many original parts missing. According to Corinna, the fact that this was the first staged production of Krenek’s arrangement since its premiere in 1937 presented an interesting challenge, saying that “there is no tradition or performance history […] nobody had heard it before.”
However, Corinna has found preparing the production a deeply enjoyable process:
“There was spontaneous amazement among the singers and orchestra when we played it all together for the first time; it is extremely colourful, I am still amazed by the orchestral colours Krenek used, such as special sound effects (con sordino, col legno, etc) and harmonies that underline the drama. It has been a lot of fun to work with the director so that the musical effects and dramatic actions are really timed together. I really hope the audience feel this when they come to see it. Discovering and exploring the work of both Monteverdi and Krenek has been very rewarding”.
The production has been met with critical acclaim since its premiere, with the Oper aktuel praising Corinna for transporting “this instrumental color palette to the most wonderful”, while the Neue Zürcher Zeitung credits her for “planning and designing [the score] in a technically sensitive way”. The Tagblatt commends the production for being “among the most entertaining and exciting things one has recently experienced in St. Gallen”, and the Deutschlandfunk praises the the “transparent orchestral movement in the dedicated, sensitive interpretation of Corinna Niemeyer”.
The final performance takes place this weekend.