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con amore

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premiere 03 Feb 2002

The text of Con Amore was adapted from Monteverdi's 1622 opera L'Incoronazione di Poppea. For the set, Van Hove's regular designer, Jan Versweyveld, took the staid Stadsschouwburg theater and built into it a complete, top-of-the-line, working kitchen and bathroom, with a couple of mattresses to make a Real Worldhome complete. Staged in the round, the play was a cynical tale of love and power: The emperor Nero dumps his wife Ottavia for the courtesan Poppea, who dumps her own longtime lover for Nero's crown. Yet the actors also went on with daily life: they cooked, ate, peed, got food smeared on their bodies, and took long showers. While the text was saying that love was a sham, all the amazing sensuality and nakedness—Halina Reijn, who played Poppea, has the most beautiful body—was telling us to get laid, get fed, and embrace life.

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