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The opening includes a brief discussion of the ancient mythic inspiration for the story, the role of castrati in performances of the time, the vexed questions surrounding "which version," and the desire shared by Gluck and his librettist de'Calzabigi to reform opera seria forever. Then we "plunge straightaway into the burnished splendor of the Baroque."
From the opening scenes of the poet-singer Orfeo mourning at Euridice's grave to the triumphant finale celebrating the glory of love, the opera is nothing less than entrancing. Even if you have no interest in opera and know nothing of the plot, if you are a lover of Baroque music, Orfeo ed Euridice is a must-listen. If you do love opera, you'll marvel at Gluck's ability to express himself with perfect economy, brilliant contrast, emotional intensity, and exquisite orchestration.
As always, much appreciation for David Timson whose narrations are as beautiful as music to my ears.
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