J-P Ponnelle’s 1979 film of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea with Zürich forces conducted by a young Nikolaus Harnoncourt is like his Orfeo only more so. Sets and costumes are that rather odd “ancient baroque” that Ponnelle is so fond of. The acting is stylized and hyperkinetic and so is the camera work with close ups from weird angles all over the place. So far, so Ponnelle.
Besides the production of La Clemenza di Tito still in repertory at the Met, Jean-Pierre Ponelle also made a film of the piece. It was shot among the ruins of ancient Rome in 1980 and is one of those lip synched opera films popular in that era. The forces involved are eclectic. James Levine conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor with mainly American soloists. Continue reading