Discover Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, performed at the Théâtre de Poissy by the accentus choir and the Insula Orchestra under Laurence Equilbey's baton. They are joined by Franco Fagioli, Malin Hartelius and Emmanuelle de Negri.
The legend of Orfeo and Euridice, which dates back to the Greeks and the Romans, is one of those stories that are as aching and painful as they are wonderful, several times adapted through the history of music (by Monteverdi, Gluck, Berlioz and Offenbach). For this concert, Laurence Equilbey chose to perform Gluck's original Viennese version that was composed in 1762, with a wonderful casting. The role of Orfeo, that originally required the voice of a contralto castrato, is performed by one of the best countertenors of our times, Franco Fagioli whose remarkable voice covers three octaves. The Swedish soprano Malin Hartelius appears in the role of Euridice. They are joined by Emmanuelle de Negri to perform Amore.
Orfeo cries because his beloved wife has died. The gods, moved by such a pain, send him Amore (the Love) to offer him to go to the Hades to bring back Euridice, on condition that he does not glance at her before they will be back on earth. When Orfeo wants to cross the Cocytus, he meets the Happy Spirits. Thanks to his musical talents, he convinces the Spirits to let him go and guide him. After having found his wife, he begins with her a long way to come back on Earth. However Euridice suddenly stops, worried: she doesn't understand why Orfeo doesn't look at her. Orfeo can't resist anymore, he turns to look at his wife. But in an ultimate breath, Euridice forever dies. In the famous "I have lost my Euridice", Orfeo wants to kill himself but Amore appears to stop him and gather the lovers in the eternity.
Through the Orfeo ed Euridice he composed in 1762, Gluck makes this tragedy sublime with a dazzling music, at the limits between the Baroque and classical styles, with the shape of an azione teatrale per musica that was popular at the end of the 18th century.
"I had a so deep, sensitive, absorbing and harrowing impression when I heard the music of Orfeo ed Euridice that I was unable to talk about what I felt."
— Julie de Lespinasse, French letter writer, 1732-1776
Picture: Laurence Equilbey © Julien Mignot