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The Sunday Opera: Handel's "Agrippina" from the Royal Opera House

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London’s Royal Opera House takes us back to ancient Rome through Handel’s “Agrippina” on this week’s Sunday Opera (11/8 3:00 p.m.).  The ruthless Agrippina (Joyce DiDonato) works her wiles to ensure that her son Nerone (Franco Fagioli) will become the next emperor.  By pitting her henchmen Pallante and Narciso (Andrea Mastroni and Eric Jurenas) against her husband Claudio (Gianluca Buratto) and his chosen successor Ottone (Iestyn Davies), she places Nerone on the throne where he will become one of the most infamous of Rome’s emperors.   

The cast also includes Lucy Crowe as Poppea and Jose Coca Loza as Lesbo and is conducted by Maxim Emlyanychev.   Although the opera ends with the triumphal gloating of Agrippina, join Michael Kownacky after the opera for Handel’s cantata where Agrippina meets the untimely end she deserves through the hands of Nerone.  “Agrippina condotta a morire” was written two years before the opera, and this recording features Carolyn Sampson as Agrippina in her final hours from being condemned to her death.  Sampson is joined by The King’s Consort with Robert King conducting.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.