Gluck: Orphee Et Eurydice / Juan Diego Florez

Release Date: 5/4/2010
Label: Decca
Catalog Number: B001415502
Number of Discs: 2

Physical Format:

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Notes and Editorial Reviews
"This is perhaps rather surprising territory in which to find Juan Diego Flórez. One glance at the cover should leave you in no doubt that he is the main attraction here. However, in many respects this opera might have been made for him.
Most of us know Orfeo best with a woman in the title role: Kathleen Ferrier, Janet Baker and Anne Sofie von Otter are among its most famous recent exponents. However, as Jeremy Hayes points out in his very useful booklet notes for this release, Gluck always conceived the part with a male protagonist in mind. His first two versions of it were composed for castrati, but when he was invited to produce a version for Paris in 1774 he knew that this would not do because in France the castrato voice was something of an object of ridicule. Consequently he rearranged it for a high tenor or, more accurately, an haute-contre. This voice type was intended to slide effortlessly between chest and head voice and would have taken most of the heroic roles in French opera of the time. If the role has more often been taken by a woman it is more testament to the fact that so few tenors today could attempt it. Enter Flórez. If any tenor today could tackle the role of Orphée it is surely him.
With such a singer in the title role it is bound to make you reassess what you know of this opera. Flórez’s renowned skills in coloratura and virtuosic singing should theoretically give him all the necessary equipment to assay this role and there are moments where he sounds fantastic. The bravura showpiece which ends Act 1, and which Gluck wrote especially for this version, sounds full and exciting in his hands and he also manages great pathos for the famous J’ai perdu mon Eurydice. If truth be told, though, to my ears he never sounded entirely at home in the role, as if the conventionally staid acting style brought out an aspect of his voice that he wasn’t entirely happy with. Even he is punished by the high tessitura at some moments. Don’t be misled, though: this remains a vocal performance of great distinction and it made me appraise the opera and this singer in a refreshing light; surely an achievement by itself."
-- Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
1. Orfeo ed Euridice by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer: Juan Diego Flórez (Tenor), Alessandra Marianelli (Soprano), Ainhoa Garmendia (Soprano)
Period: Classical
Written: 1762/1774 ; Vienna, Austria
Customer Reviews