The chorus expresses its anguish: "Ah, bitter happening, ah, impious and cruel fate! After the composer’s death in 1643 the opera went unperformed for many years, and was largely forgotten until a revival of interest in the late nineteenth century led to a spate of modern editions and performances. These included versions by Raymond Leppard (1965), Denis Stevens (1967), Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1969), Jane Glover (1975), Roger Norrington (1976) and John Eliot Gardiner. The exchange between the dumbfounded Orfeo … [35][88] Only the composers Valentino Bucchi (1967), Bruno Maderna (1967) and Luciano Berio (1984) produced editions based on the convention of a large modern orchestra. Orfeo leaves the scene and his destiny is left uncertain, for the Bacchantes devote themselves for the rest of the opera to wild singing and dancing in praise of Bacchus. Claudio Monteverdi, born in Cremona in 1567, was a musical prodigy who studied under Marc'Antonio Ingegneri, the maestro di cappella (head of music) at Cremona Cathedral. If he does, "a single glance will condemn him to eternal loss". [7] On 6 October 1600, while visiting Florence for the wedding of Maria de' Medici to King Henry IV of France, Duke Vincenzo attended the premiere of Peri's Euridice. [17], When Monteverdi composed L'Orfeo he had a thorough grounding in theatrical music. [14] Musicologist Gary Tomlinson remarks on the many similarities between Striggio's and Rinuccini's texts, noting that some of the speeches in L'Orfeo "correspond closely in content and even in locution to their counterparts in L'Euridice". More recently, in 1598 Monteverdi had helped the court’s musical establishment produce Giovanni Battista Guarini’s play Il pastor fido, described by theatre historian Mark Ringer as a “watershed theatrical work” which inspired the Italian craze for pastoral drama. [35][45], After years of neglect, Monteverdi's music began to attract the interest of pioneer music historians in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and from the second quarter of the 19th century onwards he is discussed increasingly in scholarly works. The remaining instruments, mainly brass, are associated with the Underworld, though there is not an absolute distinction; strings appear on several occasions in the Hades scenes. [44][n 5] Although according to Carter the work was still admired across Italy in the 1650s,[35][43] it was subsequently forgotten, as largely was Monteverdi, until the revival of interest in his works in the late 19th century. The pastoral world of the fields of Thrace is represented by the strings, harpsichords, harp, organs, recorders and chitarroni. Its score was published by Monteverdi in 1609 and again in 1615. Furthermore, ancient Greece was starting to become more popular for theatrical subject matter. Perhaps, he thinks, Plutone, driven by envy, has imposed the condition through spite? It was written in 1607 for a court performance during the annual Carnival at Mantua. with the full inspiration of genius.”, Monteverdi states the orchestral requirements at the beginning of his published score, but in accordance with the practice of the day he does not specify their exact usage. [40], The date for the first performance of L'Orfeo, 24 February 1607, is evidenced by two letters, both dated 23 February. Composed at the point of transition from the Renaissance era to the Baroque, L’Orfeo employs all the resources then known within the art of music, with particularly daring use of polyphony.

The opera was introduced to London, in d'Indy's edition, when it was sung to piano accompaniment at the Institut Français on 8 March 1924. [72] The brief final act, which sees Orfeo's rescue and metamorphosis, is framed by the final appearance of La musica's ritornello and the lively moresca that ends the opera. [42], There are suggestions that in the years following the premiere, L'Orfeo may have been staged in Florence, Cremona, Milan and Turin,[35] though firmer evidence suggests that the work attracted limited interest beyond the Mantuan court. [42] Francesco may have mounted a production in Casale Monferrato, where he was governor, for the 1609–10 Carnival, and there are indications that the work was performed on several occasions in Salzburg between 1614 and 1619, under the direction of Francesco Rasi. This fanfare was later used in Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine de 1610. [71], After the prologue, act 1 follows in the form of a pastoral idyll. This dance, says Ringer, recalls the jigs danced at the end of Shakespeare's tragedies, and provides a means of bringing the audience back to their everyday world, "just as the toccata had led them into another realm some two hours before. [62], L'Orfeo is, in Redlich's analysis, the product of two musical epochs. L’Orfeo (SV 318), sometimes called La favola d’Orfeo, is an early Baroque favola in musica, or opera (sometimes considered late Renaissance), by Claudio Monteverdi, with a libretto by Alessandro Striggio. The pun (Speranza means "hope") in this quotation from. After the Second World War most new editions sought authenticity through the use of period instruments. [26], Monteverdi instructs his players generally to "[play] the work as simply and correctly as possible, and not with many florid passages or runs". Only fragments of its music still exist, but several other Florentine works of the same period—Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo by Emilio de' Cavalieri, Peri's Euridice and Giulio Caccini's identically titled Euridice—survive complete. The toccata and the moresca unite courtly reality with operatic illusion. [2] The involvement in the premiere of a Florentine castrato, Giovanni Gualberto Magli, is confirmed by correspondence between the Gonzaga princes. The Duke quickly recognised the novelty of this new form of dramatic entertainment, and its potential for bringing prestige to those prepared to sponsor it. The basso continuo is especially noteworthy as it uses instruments such as lutes and harps to provide a harmonic foundation for the rest of the ensemble and the actors. The regal was a keyboard similar to a modern-day harmonium, and sounds like the reed pipes of pipe organs .These instruments were used almost as characters in the play. Monteverdi's vocal embellishments and virtuoso accompaniment provide what Carter describes as "one of the most compelling visual and aural representations" in early opera. The music, observing due propriety, serves the poetry so well that nothing more beautiful is to be heard anywhere". It is distinguished from an oratorio (such as Handel's Messiah) because it is presented theatrically with … [65], The importance of L'Orfeo is not that it was the first work of its kind, but that it was the first attempt to apply the full resources of the art of music, as then evolved, to the nascent genre of opera. [n 3].

L’ORFEO! [2][3], Vincenzo Gonzaga's particular passion for musical theatre and spectacle grew from his family connections with the court of Florence. However, when Orfeo takes up his lyre and plays, Caronte is soothed into sleep. [27] Since at no time are all the instruments played together, the number of players needed is less than the number of instruments. The mood of contentment is abruptly ended when La messaggera enters, bringing the news that, while gathering flowers, Euridice has received a fatal snakebite. In this new style, the text dominates the music; while sinfonias and instrumental ritornelli illustrate the action, the audience’s attention is always drawn primarily to the words. For other uses, see. Orfeo then muses on his former unhappiness, but proclaims: "After grief one is more content, after pain one is happier". Having pointed out the words inscribed on the gate (“Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”), Speranza leaves. [46] In 1904 the composer Vincent d'Indy produced an edition in French, which comprised only act 2, a shortened act 3 and act 4. The chorus of spirits sings that Orfeo, having overcome Hades, was in turn overcome by his passions. Most of the editions that followed d'Indy up to the time of the Second World War were arrangements, usually heavily truncated, that provided a basis for performances in the modern opera idiom. Monteverdi wrote plain and embellished versions of some arias, such as Orfeo's "Possente spirto",[21] but according to Harnoncourt "it is obvious that where he did not write any embellishments he did not want any sung". A century before Duke Vincenzo’s time the court had staged Angelo Poliziano’s lyrical drama La favola di Orfeo, at least half of which was sung rather than spoken.