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Claudio Monteverdi – L’Orfeo

Recorded at Vienna, Casino Zögernitz, from 28.11 to 1.12, 1968.

About this Opera:
L’Orfeo (L’Orfeo, favola in musica, SV 318, or La Favola d’Orfeo, or The Legend of Orpheus) is one of the earliest works recognized as an opera, composed by Claudio Monteverdi with text by Alessandro Striggio for the annual carnival of Mantua. It was first performed before the Accademia degl’Invaghiti on 24 February 1607 in a now unidentifiable room in the ducal palace at Mantua, and was published in Venice in 1609. The work went unperformed for nearly 300 years, before it was rediscovered by composer Vincent D’Indy and revived in 1904. It continues to be regularly performed and its anniversary year of 2007 saw many productions.
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.
Monteverdi’s operas are usually labelled “early Baroque,” or sometimes “pre-Baroque.” Music in northern Italy at this time was in transition between the style of the late Renaissance and the early Baroque, and progressive composers such as Monteverdi combined the stylistic trends prevalent in the various musical centers such as Florence, Venice and Ferrara.

Synopsis:
Characters:
Orfeo, Orpheus, a shepherd (tenor)
Euridice, Eurydice, wife of Orfeo (soprano)
Silvia, friend of Euridice (soprano)
Speranza, Hope, Orfeo’s escort to Hades (soprano)
Caronte, a boatman at the crossing of the river Styx (bass)
Plutone, God of the Underworld (bass)
Proserpina, Wife of Plutone
Ecco, an Echo (tenor)
Apollo, Father of Orfeo
The Plot:
Prologue:
A spirit of music (La Musica) invites the audience to hear the story of Orfeo.
Orfeo is said to be capable of taming wild animals and the gods of the underworld with his music.
Act I:
Celebration of Euridice’s Marriage to Orpheus in the fields of Thrace.
Orfeo sings of Love and praise.
Orfeo is accompanied by a chorus of nymphs and shepherds into a temple with songs of love and joy
Act II:
Orpheus sings in the woods.
Silvia arrives to tell Orpheus that his wife, Euridice, has been bitten by a serpent and has died.
Orfeo is grief stricken.
Orfeo vows to bring Euridice back from Hell, or remain there himself, by using the power of love through song to convince the god Plutone to free her.
Act III:
Orfeo, led by Speranza, is taken to the gates of Hell.
At the river Styx, Orfeo sings to a boatman, Caronte.
Caronte feels sorry for Orfeo, but does not allow him to cross the river.
Orfeo continues to sing, and eventually Caronte falls into a deep sleep.
Orfeo steal the oars to the boat and crosses the river.
Act IV:
In Hades, Proserpina ask her husband, Plutone, to listen to Orfeo and grant him his wish to free Euridice.
Plutone agrees under the condition that Orfeo leads her out of Hades without once looking at her.
As Orfeo is leading her out of Hell, he begins to doubt that she is actually following him.
As he turns to see Euridice, she vanishes.
Orfeo cries out in song, lamenting his loss.
Act V:
Having returned to the fields of Thrace, Orfeo continues to lament the loss of his wife.
Orfeo’s cries are only answered by Ecco, a single voice.
Orfeo becomes angry at all women and vows never to take another.
Apollo, Orfeo’s father, descends from heaven to console his son.
The ascend together to heaven.

Track List:
cd1:
01. Toccata (2:22)
02. Prologo – Ritornello “Dal mio Parnasso” [La Musica] (4:55)
03. 1. Akt “In questo lieto e fortunato giorno” [Pastore II] (1:56)
04. Vieni, Imeneo – Coro di ninfe e pastori (1:03)
05. “Muse, onor di Parnasso” [Ninfa] (1:01)
06. “Lasciate i monti” [Coro di ninfe e pastori] (1:50)
07. “Ma tu, gentil cantor” [Pastore I] (0:49)
08. “Rosa del ciel” [Orfeo] (1:59)
09. “Io non dirò qual sia” [Euridice] (1:02)
10. “Lasciate i monti” [Coro di ninfe e pastori] (0:55)
11. Vieni, Imeneo – Coro di ninfe e pastori (1:02)
12. “Ma se il nostro gioir” [Pastore II] (0:52)
13. Alcun non sia che disperato – Pastore I – IV, Ninfa (3:36)
14. “Ecco Orfeo” [Coro di ninfe e pastori] (0:50)
15. 2. Akt – Sinfonia – Ecco pur ch’a voi ritorno (1:31)
16. Ritornella – In questo prato – Pastore II + III, Coro di ninfe e pastori (1:56)
17. Ritornella – Vi ricorda – Orfeo (2:40)
18. Mira, deh mira – Pastore II, La Messagera (1:18)
19. Lassa, dunque debb’io (La Messagera) (1:36)
20. Donde vieni? (Orfeo, La Messagera) (3:41)
21. “Ahi, caso acerbo” [Pastore II, Pastore III] (1:21)
22. “Tu se’ morta” [Orfeo] (2:02)
23. “Ahi, caso acerbo” [Coro di ninfe e pastori] (1:08)
24. Ma io, che in questa lingua – La Messagera (1:18)
25. Sinfonia (1:03)
26. Chi ne consola, ahi lassi? . Pastore II + III, Coro di ninfe e pastori (4:29)
27. Ritornello (0:31)
cd2:
01. 3. Akt – Sinfonia (0:44)
02. Scorto da te, mio nume – Orfeo (1:27)
03. Ecco l’atra palude – La Speranza] (2:42)
04. Dove, ah dove ten’ vai – Orfeo (1:05)
05. O tu, ch’inanzi morte – Caronte (1:44)
06. Sinfonia (0:39)
07. Possente spirto (Orfeo) (9:00)
08. Ben mi lusinga – Caronte (0:44)
09. Ahi, sventurato amante – Orfeo (1:21)
10. Sinfonia (0:36)
11. Ei dorme, e la mia cetra – Orfeo (2:11)
12. Sinfonia (0:42)
13. Nulla impresa per uom – Coro di spiriti (2:12)
14. Sinfonia (0:45)
15. 4. Akt – Signor, quell’infelice – Proserpina (2:32)
16. Benché severo – Plutone (1:57)
17. O de gli abitator – Spirito I, Spirito II (1:10)
18. Quali grazie ti rendo – Proserpina (0:55)
19. Tue soavi parole – Plutone (0:43)
20. Pietade, oggi, e amore – Coro di spiriti (0:43)
21. Ritornello – Quale onor di te fia degno – Orfeo (3:12)
22. Rott’hai la legge – Spirito III (0:13)
23. Ahi, vista troppo dolce – Euridice (1:34)
24. Torna a l’ombre – Spirito I (0:24)
25. Dove ten’vai – Orfeo (0:52)
26. Sinfonia (0:44)
27. E la virtute un raggio – Coro di spiriti (1:57)
28. Sinfonia (0:41)
29. 5. Akt – Ritornello (0:31)
30. Questi i campi di Tracia – Orfeo, Eco (6:57)

The Players:

Stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 265.76 Mb, 1 hour 49 minutes. Covers & info included.

Part1 —–  Part2 —–  Part3

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