“POPPEA IN THE OPERA BOX” by Edward Muir. The full chapter discusses the issues with Poppea, and how the audiences of the mid 1600’s would have viewed the plot. In this excerpt, you will read about one explanation.

A tiny bit of background: Venice in the 1600’s was a wild place. The church was not terribly important and there was a steady decline in marriage amongst the ruling class. This had to do with strict rules about who could marry whom. Since the rules were so problematic and expensive(!) many choose to skip marriage altogether.

Having read the synopsis, viewed parts of the work, and after reading this article, how do you feel about the characters in this opera? Who do you sympathize with and why? How do you see the character of Poppea? Can we, a 21st century audience still relate to these people and even root for them? Do you personally need to like and empathize with the main characters to enjoy an opera (or movie or book?)