"Shirley Verrett makes a deeply impressive Orfeo, firm and pure in sound, classically restrained in expression; and her "Che farO", at a moderate, beautifully judged speed, is very finely sung, poised and quietly moving. The set is conducted by Renato Fasano, whose pacing of the score shows a very sure touch. The dance music has a grace and lightness, and a stylistic command, that one might not have expected from an orchestra which in those days seemed to be fed chiefly on a diet of Vivaldi."(Gramophone)
Once you listen to this account, it's easily understandable just why Orfeo ed Euridice has become the most famous opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck. Based on the well-known story from antiquity, Gluck composed a varied, engrossing music full of melodious arias, stirring dances, and dramatic duets and choruses. Conductor René Jacobs has decided here to eschew countertenor casting, with the result that we can enjoy mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink as Orfeo. She interprets the part of the lovesick hero with vocal precision, stylistic assurance and admirably clear articulation. Her voice radiates warmth and resonates beautifully but at the same time with strength–especially in the highly dramatic Act III, which she, together with Veronica Cangemi (Euridice), shapes with an almost stormy emotional fervour. Maria Christina Kiehr sings with angelic beauty as Amore, while Jacobs leads the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and the Rias Chamber Choir with verve and sweep in a recording that conveys limber beauty under the aegis of the historically-informed practice movement.
Sony Classical will reissue its recordings by Tafelmusik, the GRAMMY-nominated period-instrument orchestra, in a new box set of 47 CDs. Originally released between 1989 and 1998, the recordings of the famed orchestra's Baroque and Classical repertoire are all being issued together for the first time in a single Sony Classical box set.
This is a full recording of the original Italian version (the “Vienna version” from 1762) of Gluck’s beloved take on the Orpheus myth, Orfeo et Euridice PLUS extra music written by Gluck for later performances of his opera. It includes virtuoso arias for Fagioli and as such represents a brilliant showcase for him and a collectible item for connoisseurs. This is Franco Fagioli’s first ever recording of a complete opera in which he sings the title role and since, the role has become one of Franco’s calling cards in recent seasons. It is known for its absolutely gorgeous music, including one of opera’s most audience-pleasing tunes, the uber-famous aria “Che farò senza Euridice”. This version of the opera (by far the most popular one) appears for the first time ever on period instruments on DG / Archiv, hence filling a major gap in our catalogue and is a substantial project featuring one of our exciting new signings in one of his finest roles.
A splendid cast as well as an avant-garde production that makes extensive use of large projection screens and includes members of the orchestra as actors onstage result in one of the most exciting opera performances in recent years.
This recording of Monteverdi's great tale of Orpheus in the underworld, the very first operatic masterpiece, was made live during the run of a production of Orfeo in the French city of Tourcoing in 2004. Orfeo is usually heard in studio recordings. A live performance using all of Monteverdi's unusual instruments of 1607 is difficult to put together; the work is large and expensive to produce, and it's hard to recoup those costs from audiences still generally unfamiliar with the music A studio performance will deliver the details of instrumentation that emerge from Monteverdi's giant orchestra in a way that a live recording cannot; the work followed directly in the tradition of the Florentine wedding spectaculars mounted by the Medici family, and Monteverdi had the resources to create all kinds of fabulous instrumental effects…
Familiar to UK audiences as a recitalist, Dietrich Henschel has been inexplicably neglected by this country's opera companies. You get a strong sense of what a theatrical animal he is, however, from his performance of the title role in this flawed but compelling production of L'Orfeo, filmed in Madrid last year. The subtlety of Henschel's acting matches the complexity of his vocal characterisation so that, by the end, you not only feel you've been taken on a vast journey from joy to grief and back again, but also believe that Orfeo's own music really has the power to affect both gods and nature…Tim Ashley
The Baroque Theatre of Český Krumlov Castle provides an ideal setting for one of the most important operas in music history, Christoph Willibald Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice”. Director Ondřej Havelka captures much more than a stage performance: combining period details with modern psychological interpretation he chooses a cinematic approach that literally takes us behind the scenes of this unique venue. Bejun Mehta, ‘arguably the best countertenor in the world today’ (Sueddeutsche Zeitung), lends credibility to the emotions tormenting Orfeo’s heart. As his beloved Euridice, Austrian soprano Eva Liebau juggles joy and jealousy. Bringing comic relief to the work’s dark tone is Regula Mühlemann as Amore, who cheerily sends mortals zigzagging on their way to life, love – and, maybe, death. Under the baton of baroque specialist Václav Luks, the splendid soloists are supported by the Prague orchestra and vocal ensemble Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704. This is the perfect new release to celebrate Gluck’s 300th anniversary in 2014!
Frieder Bernius began his career primarily as a conductor of choral music, focusing largely on repertory from the Baroque and early Classical periods. Gradually he took a greater interest in orchestral music while still maintaining a preference for choral works. He has favored authentic performance practices and has become one of the leaders in the historically informed performance (HIP) movement. (…) Bernius began recording with Sony Classical in 1989, and among his most successful early recordings for that label was that of Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice (1992), with Nancy Argenta and Michael Chance. Along with his successes in the recording studio in the 1990s and first decade of the new century, Bernius continued to lead many highly acclaimed concerts at home and abroad with his three Stuttgart ensembles.
Glucks Orfeo ed Euridice is one of music history's most important operas. The cast is led by Bejun Mehta, arguably the best countertenor in the world today (Sueddeutsche Zeitung) as Orfeo, Austrian soprano Eva Liebau as Euridice and Regula Mühlemann as Amore. Director Ondej Havelka combines period details with modern psychological interpretation. The baroque specialist Václav Luks leads the Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704. This cinematic edition celebrates Glucks 2014 tricentenary!