As a part of the Handel Year 2009, OPERA2DAY together with the early music department of the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague, organised a co-production of Handel’s opera, Agrippina. The artistic direction as well as the coaching of the singers was in the hands of Michael Chance. Floris Visser took care of the staging.

Master manipulator

The story of the empress Agrippina and her insatiable hunger for power forms the core of Handel’s opera. She is a master manipulator, unafraid of conspiracy, incest and murder.

With thanks to

Agrippina was made possible thanks to the contributions of the Gemeente Den Haag, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds,SNS REAAL Fonds, Kattendijke/Drucker Stichting, M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Stichting, Stichting Händelrenaissance and Casema Cultuur Fonds.


Act I

On hearing the news that her husband, the Emperor Claudius, has died in a storm at sea, Agrippina plots to secure the throne for Nero, her son by a previous marriage. Nero is unenthusiastic about this project, but assents to his mother's wishes ("Con saggio tuo consiglio"). Agrippina obtains the support of her two freedmen, Pallas and Narcissus, who hail Nero as the new Emperor before the Senate.

With the Senate's assent Agrippina and Nero begin to ascend the throne, but the ceremony is interrupted by the entrance of Claudius's servant Lesbus. He announces that his master is alive ("Allegrezza! Claudio giunge!"), saved from death by Otho, the commander of the army. Otho himself confirms the story, and reveals that Claudius has promised him the throne as a mark of gratitude. Agrippina is confounded, until Otho secretly confides to her that he loves the beautiful Poppaea more than he desires the throne. Agrippina, aware that Claudius also loves Poppaea, sees a new opportunity of furthering her ambitions for Nero. She goes to Poppaea and tells her, falsely, that Otho has struck a bargain with Claudius whereby he, Otho, gains the throne but gives Poppaea to Claudius. Agrippina advises Poppaea to turn the tables on Otho by telling the Emperor that Otho has ordered her to refuse Claudius's attentions. This, Agrippina believes, will make Claudius revoke his promise to Otho of the throne.

Poppaea believes Agrippina. When Claudius arrives at Poppaea's house she reveals what she believes is Otho's treachery. Claudius departs in fury, while Agrippina cynically consoles Poppaea by declaring that their friendship will never be broken by deceit ("Non hò cor che per amarti").

Act II

allas and Narcissus realize that Agrippina has tricked them into supporting Nero, and decide to have no more to do with her. Otho arrives, nervous about his forthcoming coronation ("Coronato il crin d'allore"), followed by Agrippina, Nero and Poppaea, who have come to greet Claudius. All combine in a triumphal chorus ("Di timpani e trombe"), as Claudius enters. Each in turns pays tribute to the Emperor, but Otho is coldly rebuffed as Claudius denounces him as a traitor. Otho is devastated, and appeals to Agrippina, Poppaea, and Nero for support, but they all reject him, leaving him in bewilderment and despair ("Otton, qual portenso fulminare" followed by "Voi che udite il mio lamento").

However, Poppaea is touched by her former beloved's grief, and wonders if he might not be innocent ("Bella pur nel mio diletto"). She devises a plan, which involves pretended sleep and, when Otho approaches her, sleep-talking what Agrippina has told her earlier. Otho, as intended, overhears her and fiercely protests his innocence. He convinces Poppaea that Agrippina has deceived her. Poppaea swears revenge ("Ingannata una sol volta") but is distracted when Nero comes forward and declares his love for her. Meanwhile Agrippina has lost the support of Pallas and Narcissus, but manages to convince Claudius that Otho is still plotting to take the throne. She advises him that he should end Otho's ambitions once and for all by abdicating in favour of Nero. Claudius, eager to be with Poppaea again, agrees.


Poppaea now plans some deceit of her own, in an effort to divert Claudius's wrath from Otho with whom she is now reconciled. She hides Otho in her bedroom with instructions to listen carefully. Soon Nero arrives to press his love on her ("Coll ardor del tuo bel core"), but she tricks him into hiding as well. Then Claudius enters; Poppaea tells him that he had earlier misunderstood her: it was not Otho but Nero who had ordered her to reject Claudius. To prove her point she asks Claudius to pretend to leave, then she summons Nero who, thinking Claudius has gone, resumes his passionate wooing of Poppaea. Claudius suddenly reappears, and angrily dismisses the crestfallen Nero. After Claudius departs, Poppaea brings Otho out of hiding and the two express their everlasting love in separate arias.

At the palace, Nero tells Agrippina of his troubles, and decides to renounce love for political ambition ("Come nubbe che fugge dal vento"). But Pallas and Narcissus have by now revealed Agrippina's original plot to Claudius, so that when Agrippina urges the Emperor to yield the throne to Nero, he accuses her of treachery. She then claims that her efforts to secure the throne for Nero had all along been a ruse to safeguard the throne for Claudius ("Se vuoi pace"). Claudius believes her; nevertheless, when Poppaea, Otho, and Nero arrive, Claudius announces that Nero and Poppaea will marry, and that Otho shall have the throne. No one is satisfied with this arrangement, as their desires have all changed, so Claudius in a spirit of reconciliation reverses his judgement, giving Poppaea to Otho and the throne to Nero. He then summons the goddess Juno, who descends to pronounce a general blessing ("V'accendano le tede i raggi delle stelle").


Artistic director Michael Chance

Conductor Hernán Schvartzman

Stage director Floris Visser

Choreography Ivan Schauvliege

Stage design Niels Mathot

Costume design Fer Smidt

Lighting design Alex Brok

Hair and makeup Jan Ruedisueli

Dramaturgist Klaus Bertisch



Agrippina Aylin Sezer, Camille Hesketh (Oct. 12)

Poppea Stefanie True, Sae-Jeong Kim (Oct. 12)

Nerone Riccardo Strano, Reut Shabi (Oct. 12)

Ottone Jan Kullmann, Lester Lardenoye (Oct. 12)

Claudio Achim Hoffmann

Pallante David Greco, Louis-Pierre Patron (Oct. 12)

Narciso Santiago Cumplido, Piotr Baranski (Oct. 12)

Lesbo Iason Marmaras, Lucas Zeman (Oct. 12)

Giunone Reut Shabi, Olga Passchier (Oct. 12)

Amor Ivan Schauvliege


1st violin Kayo Saito (concertmaster), Luca Rizzello, Enrique Gómez-Cabrero Fernández, Annegret Hoffmann, Seung Rok Baeng, Veronika Manova

2nd violin Erin Chen, Meritxell Tiana Alsina, Eduardo Sola Chagas Lima, Veronika Manova, Jiska ter Bals, Seo Jin Kim

Viola John Ma, James Hewitt, Santiago Roderiguez Pozo, David Alonso Molina

Cello Caroline Kang, Anton Baba, Lief Moxon Emre

Violone Tomoki Sumiya

Oboe Allison M. Smith, Robert de Bree

Bassoon Gergö Farkas

Recorder Robert de Bree, Grace Milandou

Trumpet Nicholas Emmerson, Gabor Hegyi

Harpsichord Lorenzo Feder, Jorge Lopez Escribano, Isaac Alonso Molina

Theorbo Robert Cases, Marcos Guzman Ramos Gutierrez

Timpani Reinhard Wilkens

Production team 

Production manager Alice Gubler

Executive producer Benno Hoogeveld

Assistent stage manager Olga Passchier, Kirstin Visser

Stage manager Prem Scholte Albers

Assistent stage manager Marjolein Mol

Chief technician Joep de Jong

Technician Nico Hoogzaadt

Operator Lucas Petow Decorbouw Rein Ulbrich

Scenery workshop 3voor5, Het Werk

Lighting equipment Flashlight

Assistents costumes Reindert Kruse, Arianne Smidt

Assistent hair and makeup Sanna Molin

Dresser Aleid Verhaart

Surtitles Matthias Konecny

Language coach Lavinia Bertotti

Photography Mylène Siegers

Graphic design Arianne Smidt

Marketing and communication Marleen Leroy


No current calendar dates found for this production.

Tuesday 03 Nov 2009 - 20:00 HOUR

Teatro Pavarotti, Modena

Sunday 18 Oct 2009 - 20:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 088 356 5 356

Saturday 17 Oct 2009 - 20:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 088 356 5 356

Friday 16 Oct 2009 - 20:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 088 356 5 356

Thursday 15 Oct 2009 - 20:00 HOUR

Atrium Stadhuis, Den Haag

Sunday 11 Oct 2009 - 20:00 HOUR

Een Huiskamer, Den Haag

Sunday 20 Sep 2009 - 20:00 HOUR

Atrium Stadhuis, Den Haag

Sunday 13 Sep 2009 - 20:00 HOUR

Theater De Regentes, Den Haag

Theater De Regentes

Addres: Weimarstraat 63
City: 2562 GR Den Haag

Sunday 06 Sep 2009 - 20:00 HOUR

Uitfestival Den Haag, Den Haag

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