Wednesday, 9 January 2008

30. Monteverdi - L'Orfeo (1607)


Title: L'Orfeo
Performer: Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts with Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Julianne Baird, Lynne Dawson, Anne Sofie von Otter, Nancy Argenta, Mary Nichols, John Tomlinson, Diana Montague, Willard White, Mark Tucker, Nigel Robson, Michael Chance, Simon Birchall, Howard Milner, Nicholas Robertson
Director: John Eliot Gardiner
Year: 1987
Length: 2 CD's, around 2 hours and 15 minutes.


This is the first Opera on the list everyone go yay! Well it is a pretty nifty one, not everyone is a sucker for early operas but I am, I like its renaissance feel, it recovering of old themes into what is essentially musical theatre. And when it is done by the brilliant Monteverdi even better.

Monteverdi's famed love for text would make him an ideal character to create what is the first of what we now call operas to survive down to our days and to still be frequently enacted.

Then you have the music which is actually supremely catching, Monteverdi's use of themes will have you singing bits of the opera to your self after the first listen through, and after 4 which I have had now knowing it all pretty much by heart.

This recording is also beautiful, I actually got a DVD of Jordi Savall's production of the Opera which altough it is interesting and helps you put the music in context is unfortunately much inferior to this audio version. Through this list I will try to see the operas whenever possible because it is quite hard to judge the music otherwise, if there are versions of the audio music in video or DVD so much the better. But get this audio version even if it is for a very expressive Anne Sofie Von Otter as the messenger of Eurydice's death.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

L'Orfeo is marked by its dramatic power and lively orchestration. It is an early example of a composer assigning specific instruments to parts; while composers of the Venetian School had been doing this, with varying precision, for about two decades, the instrumentation in the case of L'Orfeo is unusually explicit. The plot is clearly delineated with musical contrasts, and the melodies are linear and clear; much of the writing uses the style of monody which was pioneered by the Florentine Camerata in the last decades of the 16th century. With this opera Monteverdi had created an entirely new style of music, the dramma per musica, or musical drama. This idea of theatrical works set to music was taken from the notion that the Ancient Greeks had sung their plays.

Vi ricorda ò boschi ombrosi, from the Savall version :

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow that was very beautiful and inspiring and uplifting for my soul i am passinate about beautiful nusic and that was beautiful! Please write more please!