Orpheus (1647) was composed for the French Royal court, and is a work of the noblest pageantry. It represents the culmination of its composer’s operatic career. Commissioned by the fearsome Cardinal Mazarin, its subject emerged when Rossi was confronted by his own wife’s death. Its spectacular mechanical props and elaborately constructed set required over two hundred men. Its excesses helped to inspire the Fronde, a vicious civil war that despoiled France. Rossi’s instrumental passages, which make use of lutes and the harpsichord, have the soaring delicacy characteristic of early baroque, creating a ravishing emotional landscape, while his vocal writing has a tenderness and immediacy lacking in later grand opera. Its narrative eschews the spiritual uplift of Monteverdi and the uncomplicated happy ending of Gluck for something bleaker and more savage, restoring the shadows of the legend.
Keith Warner (The Ring, Wozzeck) will direct, and hopefully bring the same flamboyancy and flair to this older work. The soloists have yet to be unveiled, but period fidelity will be provided by the Orchestra of the Early Opera Company. Christian Curnyn (Serse, The Judgment of Paris) will conduct. The last time Covent Garden uprooted itself to the Globe for a seventeenth century opera, Cavalli’s L’Ormindo, it was a sell-out success. There’s every likelihood that Orpheus will face the same popularity, so book now.
|What||Orpheus, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse|
|Where||Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, 21 New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Blackfriars (underground)|
23 Oct 15 – 15 Nov 15, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Royal Opera House|