Joyce DiDonato ©Florian Kalotay


23 September11 October 2019
The performance lasts about 3 hours 35 minutes, including one interval
Main Stage
Opera and music

Agrippina is the ultimate political operator – outrageous and blatant in her pursuit of power. In the title role, Joyce DiDonato heads a specialist cast in Handel’s early operatic success, a calling card when he moved to London. The score boasts a succession of brilliant Baroque jewels – one after another come the bright, sparkling arias, here performed by a cast also including acclaimed British singers Iestyn Davies and Lucy Crowe, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and directed with characteristic invention by Barrie Kosky.

Approximate running times
Act I and Act II Part I: 1 hour 40 minutes
Interval: 30 minutes
Act II Part II and Act III:
Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet (Production Principal), Charles Holloway and the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Cover Awards. Find out more.

A co-production with:

Bavarian State Opera, Munich, and Dutch National Opera



The Emperor Claudius is reported drowned at sea. His wife Agrippina determines to make her son Nerone the new Emperor. But her plans go awry when Claudio turns up with his military commander Ottone, who saved his life and to whom he has promised the throne. Agrippina plots to use the two men’s desire for the beautiful Poppea to create enmity between them and destroy Ottone. Meanwhile, Nerone becomes seriously smitten with Poppea.

Agrippina’s continued scheming leads to multiple misunderstandings, culminating in Claudio and Nerone each attempting a romantic rendezvous with Poppea at the same time. But will Agrippina be held to account? And can Ottone and Poppea together achieve happiness?


CompanyThe Royal Opera

MusicGeorge Frideric Handel

LibrettoVincenzo Grimani

DirectorBarrie Kosky

Set designerRebecca Ringst

Costume designerKlaus Bruns

Lighting designerJoachim Klein

DramaturgNikolaus Stenitzer


There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.