The Coronation of Poppea

English Touring Opera, Britten Theatre, London & UK Tour oct 2013
Composer, Monteverdi / Conductor, Michael Rosewell / Director, James Conway / Lighting, Ace McCarron

Credit list photographer:
Photographs nr 1, 9 © Bill Knight OBE
Photographs nr 2, 5, 6, 7, 8  © Richard Hubert Smith
Photographs nr 3, 4, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15 © Robert Workman



★★★★“, Stalinist Russia replaces ancient Rome in this assured retelling of Monteverdi’s opera
— The Guardian, George Hall

— Bachtrack

— Sunday Express

—, Anne Morley-Priestman

“Samal Blak’s two-storey set keeps Poppea’s bed at the centre of attention throughout, and gives scope for related action to be seen in parallel. There is clever use of wall-panels, shoved round to open out or enclose the bed, to change the emphasis. Overall, it creates the claustrophobic atmosphere in which the story unfolds. Costumes place it firmly in the Stalinist era, emphasising the arbitrary nature of totalitarian power.”
—, Catriona Graham

“Samal Blak’s set design is both handsome and versatile, permitting readily of rearrangement, and also providing for two levels of action: Ottavia can plot, or lament, whilst Poppea sleeps.”
— boulezian, Mark Berry

“Samal Blak’s set designs are always masterful in making efficient, yet ingenious, use of the stage. The two-tier design allowed the audience to observe multiple events simultaneously, while not suggesting that these events were taking place in the same space. Moveable walls for the most part provided a good way of articulating subtler scene changes, for example, in or outside of Poppea’s bedroom.”
—, Hannah Templeton

“Samal Blak’s cleverly-designed set, placing the action on a two- tiered stage, flowed with ease which allowed this pleasant production to dissolve seamlessly from one scene to another.”
— The Bristol Post, Gerry Parker