The Mantua Orfeo is the culmination of a long process that saw the gradual acceptance of pastoral fables, comedies, and tragedies in imitation of classical models, offering special musical elements to delight the listener.
The novelty lay not only in the type of drama involved, but also in the manner of song, which favoured the accompanied monody.
Solo voice singing, so extolled and theorized within the intense conceptual debates of Giovanni Bardi’s Florentine academy, likely derives from a yearning for classicism, and for a recovery of Greek theatre - but is made contemporary through the principle of the comprehensibility of speech, which had many advocates.
The "Tale of Orpheus" was written as a musical opera; the libretto by Alessandro Striggio assumes a knowledge of Rinuccini’s tale.
Whether openly or in more concealed fashion, Monteverdi makes use of topoi or practices in common use during his day: trumpet flourishes as signals, a narrative in dactylic rhythm, and dissonant intervals to emphasize struggle or grief.
These are immediately recognizable even to a "common" public. At the same time though, he introduces complete innovations not only in the expository elements of profane song, but also in its other aspects: the exhaustive attention given to the collocation of words, the vibrant quality of the rhythmic pulse, bold dissonances, the harmonies chosen, and the wavelike melodic line.
Dynamic recently signed an agreement with Teatro Real of Madrid ensuring the filming of several of their most remarkable opera productions.
The three-years collaboration will include the complete Monteverdi cycle: ( L’Orfeo, Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria, L’Incoronazione di Poppea ) with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, whose cast includes all the great names of today’s baroque stages: Dietrich Henschel, Sonia Prina, Philippe Jaroussky, Danielle de Niese, Maria Grazia Schiavo and Cyril Auvity.
Monteverdi’s Orfeo is to be considered the first mature Opera in history.
It is a marvellous opera with a perfect harmony and sobriety. Its incredible modernness leaves the spectator amazed.
In this Orfeo, Luigi Pizzi in a co-effort with "Teatro Real" and "La Fenice", has offered a very attractive, even original staging: the beauty of the Palace, the rich colour of 17th century costumes (Christie himself is wearing a flowing red cloak and white ruffled collar) and the movement of the extras and dancers.
William Christie’s direction of the orchestra and chorus of Les Arts Florissants is a serious reading of great delicacy which is fully matching with Pizzi’s ideas who declared " it is a perfect alchemy which communicate and give pleasure".
The cast is thoroughly suited, and musical at every turn.
The DVD offers also as special content an interview with W.Christie, P.L.Pizzi ,D. Henschel and M.G.Schiavo subtitled in 4 languages.
"William Christie attains poetical and dramatic levels of great poignancy"
(J.A. Vela del Campo - El Pais - 15/05/2008 )
"Maria Grazia Schiavo (Musica, Euridice and Proserpina) and Sonia Prina (The Messenger and Speranza) delivered a first class performance displaying different emotions and modulating their voices in a amazing delicate and expressive way."
(June 2008 - Opera Actual )
"(Dietrich Henschel - Orfeo) : always correct from the scenic perspective, he incarnates along the work, a dramatic, persuasive and poignant true character ..."
(Serge Chauzy - Classic Toulouse )
"The Arts Florissants have literally surpassed themselves delivering a perfect instrumental execution inbued with an infinite variety of colours."
( Richard Martet - Opera magazine - juilllet -aout 08 )
Prologo - Act I
1 - Toccata
2 - Prologo: Dal mio permesso amato (La Musica)
3 - In questo lieto e fortunato giorno (A shepherd)
4 - Lasciate i monte (Chorus)
5 - Alcun non sia (Two shepherds)
1 - Ecco pur ch’a voi (Orfeo)
2 - Vi ricorda o boschi ombrosi (Orfeo)
3 - Ahi caso acerbo (Messenger)
4 - Tu se’ morta (Orfeo)
5 - Ahi caso acerbo (Chorus)
1 - Scorto da te mio Nume (Orfeo)
2 - Possente Spirto (Orfeo)
3 - Ei dorme e la mia cetra (Orfeo)
4 - Nulla impresa per huom (Chorus of Spirits)
1 - Sinfonia
2 - Signor quel infelice (Proserpina)
3 - Pietade oggi e amore (Chorus of Spirits)
1 - Questi i campi di Tracia (Orfeo)
2 - Perch’a lo sdegno e al dolor (Apollo)
3 - Vanne Orfeo felice appieno (Chorus)
Teatro Real, Madrid, 2008
Conductor: William Christie
Director, set & costume designer: Pier Luigi Pizzi
Orfeo - Dietrich Henschel
La Musica, Euridice, Proserpina - Maria Grazia Schiavo
La Messagera, La Speranza - Sonia Prina
Caronte - Luigi De Donato
Plutone - Antonio Abete
Apollo - Augustin Prunell-Friend
Ninfa - Hanna Bayodi-Hirt
Les Arts Florissants (Caen)
Les Sacqueboutiers (Toulouse)