Based on the simple yet deeply moving legendary tale of Orpheus, who loses his beloved wife to death but is able to restore her through the power of his music, Orfeo ed Euridice is among the earliest operas to hold a secure place in the repertory. Gluck lavishes a wealth of beautiful melody on this tale, whose appeal to composers is obvious; yet the abiding strength lies in the power and majesty of his inspiration, whether in the solos, the choruses, or the ballet music - which is surely the finest written for any opera.
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As part of the Opera Explained series, experienced radio broadcaster and voice talent David Timson delivers a Thomson Smillie lecture on Chrisoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. Smillie discusses the enduring legend of Orpheus, the gifted musician who travels to the underworld to bring back his lost love, popular fodder for art and opera since Jacopo Peri’s Euridice, one of the first operas ever written. Gluck’s opera is entwined with the history of castrati, Italian and French opera, and the stylistic reforms of 18th-century Vienna and Paris where he lived and worked. Timson brings an enthusiasm and articulation that calmly engages in a style that reflect the beautiful operatic sound clips that supplement the lecture.
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