Monteverdi "L'Orfeo"

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Monteverdi "L'Orfeo"

Post by Belle » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:58 pm

I may have posted this before, some time ago, but I've been listening to this stunning performance of "L'Orfeo" in the early hours today. It's ringing through the house on Bluetooth - the virtue of living on an acre, away from neighbours! A wonderful work and a stunning performance: I prefer baroque theatre music to any opera composed from the 19th century!!

I love the entire sound world of this music, its fragrance and texture. The ending of the phrases, which are soft and feathery - not always 'searching' for a cadence or "full stop", if I can put it that way.

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Re: Monteverdi "L'Orfeo"

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:25 pm

Sometimes, Belle, I can guess that it is you posting before reading your name. Orfeo is not literally the first opera ever composed, but it is the first important one. I once owned the original recording of it, which was only issued in the 1970s on the Telefunken label. This is a magnificent performance, and thank you for posting it.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Monteverdi "L'Orfeo"

Post by Ted Quanrud » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:07 am

Hi Belle --

Agree completely with jbuck and I too thank you for that link -- a splendid presentation.
Monteverdi's operas have been among my favorites since Nikolaus Harnoncourt recorded themon the old Telefunken label back in the 70s. Tomorrow, I leave for Chicago to hear John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir perform L'Orfeo, Il Ritorno di Ulisse and Incoronazione di Poppaea (sp?) at the Harris Theater. It will be the first time I will have heard them live, and I am "prepping" by listening to all my recordings of them.

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Re: Monteverdi "L'Orfeo"

Post by Belle » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:35 am

I envy you having that wonderful musical experience!! JEG, the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir have long been favourites of mine. He was able to achieve a sonority with that choir which I've never heard in any other, mainly in Bach.

I don't know whether I've mentioned this before but a late, beloved friend of mine accompanied that whole ensemble on part of the Bach Pilgrimage in Europe in 2000 and he used to send me pictures of rehearsals via email. He was very close to a soprano (who is well and truly retired, and I don't want to mention her name) and she had started with Gardiner way back when she was part of the "Swingle Singers". In fact, she was interviewed in the film which was made of the 'Pilgrimage". My old computer died years ago (and so did my friend) so none of the pictures he sent me have survived, unfortunately. He did tell me that the soprano had a partner who was also a singer and he died one day on a London train in the city circle line in the late 1990s. Yes, he mumbled something to the woman sitting next to him and then his head fell onto her shoulder. He was dead.

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Re: Monteverdi "L'Orfeo"

Post by John F » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:37 pm

The first recording of "L'Orfeo" in a proper performing edition, rather than a 19th or 20th century arrangement, and with period instruments, was made in 1955 by DG's Archiv label with players who were specialists in early music conducted by August Wenzinger. Way down the cast list as a shepherd was the young Fritz Wunderlich. The very first recording, however, was made in 1939 with forces of La Scala conducted by Ferruccio Calusio, arranged for modern instruments by Malipiero.
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Re: Monteverdi "L'Orfeo"

Post by jserraglio » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:45 pm

I have the Wenzinger and like it a lot as it was the first I ever heard.

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