Paintings of Monteverdi and Handel.

CCM’s Studio and Undergraduate Opera Series Celebrate the Baroque Era with ‘The Coronation of Poppea’ and ‘Alcina’

Molly Hanes (DMA candidate, Voice Performance) as Poppea in CCM's studio opera production of 'The Coronation of Poppea.' Photography by Adam Zeek.

Molly Hanes (DMA candidate, Voice Performance) as Poppea in CCM’s studio opera production of ‘The Coronation of Poppea.’ Photography by Adam Zeek.

CCM will present the operatic works of Claudio Monteverdi and Frideric Handel this spring with L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) running Feb. 20-22 and Alcina running Feb. 27-March 1 both in the Cohen Family Studio Theater.

As part of CCM’s Studio Opera Series and Opera d’arte-Undergraduate Opera Series, respectively, these productions offer free admission but reservations are required.

Associate Professor of Ensembles and Conducting L. Brett Scott conducts both productions.

Despite both focusing on royalty, these masterworks’ themes couldn’t be more different. Directed by Assistant Professor of Music in Opera and Directing Emma GriffinThe Coronation of Poppea is one of the first operas based on real-life historical figures. Monteverdi focuses on the infamous Roman emperor Nero and his affair with a married woman named Poppea Sabina, who, through betrayal, banishment and murder, becomes the emperor’s new wife.

By comparison, Alcina, with direction by Professor of Voice Kenneth Shaw, weaves a lighter, more magical tale. A warrior king is whisked away to a magical island where the sorceress Alcina seeks to place him under her spell of love, and possibly transform him into an animal or tree when she becomes bored of him. Mistaken identities, star-crossed lovers and light-hearted episodes are plentiful in Handel’s opera, which will take the CCM stage for the first time since 1985!

Monteverdi continues to be recognized (due in part to his 1607 masterpiece L’Orfeo) as the first truly renowned opera composer. His Vespers of 1610 is performed often, including CCM’s own presentation this past November by the Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra. Meanwhile, Handel’s monumental oratorio The Messiah remains highly popular in its own right and is a Christmas staple for numerous choirs and orchestras across the world.

Both productions will provide an intimate experience for audiences and performers alike inside CCM’s cozy Cohen Family Studio Theater. Tickets will become available for reservation the Monday before each opening–Feb. 16 for The Coronation of Poppea and Feb. 23 for Alcina. Mark your calendars to see two of the greatest works of the Baroque by two of its greatest composers!

UC Professor Lauren Ginsberg from McMicken College’s Department of Classics will host a free talkback session on the historical origins of The Coronation of Poppea immediately following the Sunday, Feb. 22, performance of the opera. The talkback session will also take place in the Cohen Family Studio Theater and will last approximately 30 minutes.

Rafael de Acha provides an in-depth preview of CCM’s upcoming productions of The Coronation of Poppea and Alcina for Seen and Heard InternationalRead the preview online here.

Ray Cooklis examines the “otherworldly appeal” of early music – including both of CCM’s opera productions –  in the February edition of ExpressCincinnati. Read the story online here.

The Catacoustic Consort provides an overview of all of the Early Music performances happening in Cincinnati this February here.

Event Information
All events listed below take place on the campus of the University of Cincinnati unless otherwise indicated. Tickets can be reserved in person at the CCM Box Office or over the telephone at 513-556-4183. Visit for CCM Box Office hours and location.

All event dates and programs are subject to change. Visit or contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 for the most current event information.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit


8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20
8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21
2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22 (a talkback session will immediately follow this performance)
• Studio Opera Series •
Music by Claudio Monteverdi
Libretto by Francesco Busenello
Brett Scott, conductor
Emma Griffin, director

Love, power, morality, corruption… Monteverdi’s final masterpiece, The Coronation of Poppea, is often described as his greatest achievement, combining mythic and very human themes and featuring some of his most glorious music. One of the first operas to use historical events and people, it tells the story of Nero’s infatuation with the young and beautiful Poppea as she tries to make him divorce his wife Ottavia and take her as his new queen and empress of Rome. The Coronation of Poppea is a rich, complex and thoroughly modern work; a world populated by ruthless and all-too-human characters where lust and ambition ultimately triumph over virtue.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: Admission is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Feb. 16. Visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27
2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 (the previously announced Saturday matinee performance has been canceled)
2 p.m. Sunday, March 1
• CCM Opera d’arte – Undergraduate Opera Series •
Music by George Frideric Handel
Libretto by Riccardo Broschi
Brett Scott, conductor
Kenneth Shaw, director
Amy Johnson, producer

A sorceress, an enchanted island, disguised lovers and mistaken identities are woven together beautifully with some of Handel’s most memorable melodies.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: Admission is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Feb. 23. Visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

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