Notes and Editorial Reviews
Claudio Monteverdi's 'L'Orfeo' is generally considered the first operatic masterpiece. Written in an attempt to emulate what was thought to be the performance style of the ancient Greeks, Monteverdi and his librettist created a nearly perfect union of drama, text and music that composers from Gluck to Wagner would, at various times, attempt to emulate and remake in their own image. The famous story is economically told, albeit with more principals than Gluck would employ for his famous reform opera over a century later. Unlike the later Italian works of the 17th century, 'L'Orfeo' was not a commercial enterprise and correspondingly used a much larger instrumental ensemble than would later be the norm, though there is nothing like a
definitive orchestral score so each performer has extensive editorial choices to make in realizing the work for performance.
John Eliot Gardiner fields a full chamber orchestra and chorus in his edition. The cast is made up of many of the finest singers of the early 1980s, headed by Anthony Rolf Johnson as a particularly mellifluous Orfeo. John Tomlinson, later a famous Wotan, is heard here at the beginning of his career. Read less
Works on This Recording
L'Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi
Lynne Dawson (Soprano),
Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor),
Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano),
John Tomlinson (Bass),
Nancy Argenta (Soprano),
Mary Nichols (Soprano),
Diana Montague (Soprano),
Willard White (Bass),
Mark Tucker (Tenor),
Nigel Robson (Tenor),
Simon Birchall (Bass),
Michael Chance (Countertenor),
Howard Milner (Tenor),
Nicholas Robertson (Tenor),
Julianne Baird (Soprano)
John Eliot Gardiner
English Baroque Soloists,
His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts
Written: 1607; Mantua, Italy
Date of Recording: 12/1985
Venue: EMI Abbey Road Studios, London
Length: 105 Minutes 43 Secs.
L'Orfeo / Prologo: Toccata
L'Orfeo / Prologo: Ritornello-Dal mio Permesso amato
L'Orfeo / Act 1: "In questo lieto e fortunato giorno" - "Vieni, Imeneo" - "Muse, onor di Parnasso"
L'Orfeo / Act 1: "Lasciate i monti" - "Ma tu, gentil cantor"
L'Orfeo / Act 1: "Rosa del ciel" - "Io non dirò qual sia" - "Lasciate i monti" - "Vieni, Imeneo"
L'Orfeo / Act 1: "Ma se il nostro gioir" - "Ecco Orfeo"
L'Orfeo / Act 2: Sinfonia-Ecco pur ch'a voi ritorno
L'Orfeo / Act 2: Mira che sé n'alletta - Dunque fa degni, Orfeo
L'Orfeo / Act 2: Ritornello-Vi ricorda o bosch'ombrosi
L'Orfeo / Act 2: "Ahi, caso acerbo" - "In un fiorito prato"
L'Orfeo / Act 2: "Ahi, caso acerbo" - "Ma io, che in questa lingua"
L'Orfeo / Act 2: "Chi ne consola, ahi lassi?" - "Ahi, caso acerbo"
L'Orfeo / Act 3: Sinfonia - "Scorto da te, mio nume" - "Ecco l'atra palude" - "Dove, ah, dove te'n vai"
L'Orfeo / Act 3: O tu ch'innanzi morte
L'Orfeo / Act 3: Possente spirto
L'Orfeo / Act 3: "Ben mi lusinga" - "Ahi, sventurato amante" - Sinfonia - "Ei dorme"
L'Orfeo / Act 3: Sinfonia-Nulla impresa per huom
L'Orfeo / Act 4: Signor, quel infelice - Benché severo - O degli abitator - Quali grazie ti rendo - Tue soavi parole
L'Orfeo / Act 4: Pietade, oggi, e amore - Ecco il gentil cantor
L'Orfeo / Act 4: Qual onor di te - O dolcissimi lumi - Rotto hai
L'Orfeo / Act 4: Ahi, vista troppo dolce - Torn'a l'ombra -Dove ten vai
L'Orfeo / Act 4: Sinfonia-É la virtite un raggio
L'Orfeo / Act 5: Ritornello-Questi i campi di Tracia
L'Orfeo / Act 5: Sinfonia-Perch'a lo sdegno ed al dolor
L'Orfeo / Act 5: Ritornello-Vanne Orfeo felice a pieno
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