Crane Opera Ensemble to Present 'L’Incoronazione di Poppea'


From left, Sarah Costable of Wappinger Falls, N.Y., plays the rejected Roman Empress Ottavia, who is being consoled by the goddess Virtue, played by Juliana Alfano of Massena, N.Y.

The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble will present “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” (“The Coronation of Poppea”) at the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music from Nov. 8 to Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

The opera was composed by Claudio Monteverdi to a libretto by Giovanni Busenello and first premiered in Venice in 1642. The performances will be sung in Italian with projected supertitles in English. The production, with a contemporary twist, will feature students from The Crane School of Music in the cast and orchestra.

“L’Incoronazione di Poppea” is a historical fiction account of how the Roman Emperor Nero is seduced by his mistress Poppea into making her his second wife.

“It’s really a glorified soap opera!” said stage director Carleen Graham. “It has all the elements you could want in a great opera—a sensational storyline, beautiful music and a fresh concept. We are using a good deal of modern dance and contemporary looking materials in the production to give it a modern and updated feel.”

The production also explores gender-bending casting, using a woman to play the part of Emperor Nero and a man to play the role of Poppea’s nursemaid.

Kirk Severtson is music director, conductor and vocal coach, Don Borsh is choreographer, François Germain is vocal coach, Alexis Foster is costume designer and Tonry Lathroum is guest lighting designer.

Two North Country natives have roles in the production. Juliana Alfano from Massena will play the goddess Virtue and Plattsburgh native Adam Emery is Soldier 2 and a member of the ensemble.

A special education outreach performance for regional schools will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 9:15 a.m. To date, high school students from Canton, Malone, Lowville and Norwood-Norfolk plan to attend the performance and participate in post-performance workshops with the cast.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and faculty with ID, and are available through the Community Performance Series Box Office at (315) 267-2277 or
The Crane Opera Ensemble is the 2012 and 2011 first-place winner of The American Prize in Opera Performance.

This event will also include the Community Performance Series Share A Story Book Drive, a season-long book drive to benefit area schools. In celebration of storytelling, CPS invites audience members to donate a new or gently used copy of their favorite book to be given to area schools later in the year. Donations will be accepted at each performance, as well as during CPS Box Office hours. All book donations will enter patrons in a drawing to win two season tickets to the 2013-2014 Meet the Arts Series.

For more information about the Crane Opera Ensemble’s award-winning performance history, visit

To learn more about the exceptional performance opportunities that Crane School of Music students have at SUNY Potsdam’s vibrant arts campus, visit

Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution.