FAVOLA IN MUSICA IN A PROLOGUE AND FIVE ACTS
LIBRETTO BY ALESSANDRO STRIGGIO THE YOUNGER
FIRST PERFORMED ON 24 FEBRUARY 1607 AT PALAZZO DUCALE OF MANTOUE
— OPERA IN CONCERT VERSION
ELIZABETH ET VINCENT MEYER SUPPORT THE SERIES OF OPERAS IN CONCERT VERSION
When he sings, you would think that he is calling for a shadow
that he once saw in the forest
and that he, even at the cost of his soul, would have to retain...
Philippe Jaccottet, « En écoutant Monteverdi » (1990)
The myth of Orpheus – a poet who, by the grace of his singing alone, obtains from the Underworld the return of the woman he loves and who died too soon – haunts the origins of lyric theatre. Echoing Monteverdi's last opera, The Coronation of Poppea, Leonardo García Alarcón and Cappella Mediterranea give a concert version of L'Orfeo, the composer's first opera – often considered to be the first work in the opera genre. In this humanist praise of the civilising power of art and control of passions, which ends in a luminous grand finale, Monteverdi deploys a wealth of forms, styles, and atmospheres: numerous dance rhythms, speech-like declamations, and beautiful melodic inspirations, alongside the most remarkable vocalises. Valerio Contaldo – previously Testo in Combattimento, the Black Swan Theory (2021) – takes on another of Monteverdi’s exceptionally complex and virtuoso scores, culminating in the crossing into the Underworld where beauty vies with difficulty.
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