Monteverdi's L’Orfeo

Paul Agnew (stage director and conductor) – Cyril Auvity (Orfeo), Hannah Morrison (Euridice/La Musica)...

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Paul Agnew — Stage director, conductor

Alain Blanchot — Costume designer

Christophe Naillet — Set designer, lighting designer

Cyril Auvity — Orfeo

Hannah Morrison — Euridice, La Musica

Miriam Allan — Proserpina, Ninfa

Lea Desandre — Messagiera, Speranza

Carlo Vistoli — Spirito infernale, Pastore

Sean Clayton — Pastore

Zachary Wilder — Spirito infernale, Pastore

Antonio Abete — Plutone, Spirito infernale, Pastore

Cyril Costanzo — Caronte, Spirito V

Paul Agnew — Apollo, Eco

Les Arts Florissants

Program notes

In celebration of Monteverdi’s 450th birthday in 2017, Paul Agnew—an expert in the Italian composer’s œuvre—directs L’Orfeo. This founding masterpiece of lyric opera is brought to life in elegant simplicity through the performances of Cyril Auvity’s Orpheus and Les Arts Florissants, with costumes designed by Alain Blanchot.

Composed at the very beginning of the 17th century, L’Orfeo was at the musical and artistic avant-garde of its time. In the work, Monteverdi unites various musical traditions while pushing the boundaries of dramatization of texts through music. In retrospect the work has come to be seen as a cornerstone of a then-new musical genre: opera! The revolutionary mixture of drama, poetry, and music are neatly referenced in Monteverdi’s subtitle for the work: “una favola in musica”, meaning “a fable in music”. Alessandro Striggio based L’Orfeo’s libretto on the myth of Orpheus as retold in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and in certain passages of Virgil’s Georgics.

Paul Agnew's choice of a modest staging ensures that nothing distracts from the importance of the text and music: as he explains, “it’s with simplicity that one can best realize the principal at the heart of Monteverdi’s entire œuvre—that text must guide harmony.” On the stage of the Caen Theater is Cyril Auvity in the role of Orfeo, heading up an impressive group of young singers from the Jardin des Voix and the cycle of Monteverdi’s Madrigali.

Photo: © Philippe Delval 

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