ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (WWJ) – Add music and drama together and the result is opera, a truly thrilling live arts experience. Oakland University’s music program will put on a fully staged production of “L’incoronazione di Poppea” by Claudio Monteverdi, with a libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenello. The opera was first performed in Venice in 1643 during the Carnival season. It tells the story of Poppea, mistress of the Roman emperor Nero, and her rise to empress. This early work, which was rediscovered in the late 19th century after being lost for more than 200 years, will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Although the story is an ancient one and the sumptuous music is Baroque, the costumes are designed to reflect 1950s-era gangsters in Las Vegas, allowing modern audiences to feel the sense of corruption that pervaded Nero’s Rome.

There will be two performances, both in Varner Recital Hall on Oakland University’s campus. The first is at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 8. This performance is part of OU’s Arts-After-Work season and ticket prices are Pay What You Wish. Proceeds support student performance opportunities.
The second performance is at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 10. Tickets are $18 general admission and $10 for students. Maps of the campus are available at or by searching for “Varner Hall” on a smartphone. Ample free parking will be available.

Tickets can be purchased in advance without service fees at or by phone at (800) 585-3737. They can also be purchased at the Center for Student Activities Service Window in the Oakland Center or at the Varner Hall Box Office. For additional information, call (248) 370-2030.


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