The new season will continue the series of chamber operas performed in the Sir Georg Solti Hall at the Liszt Music Academy. This time, we pursue the theme of love in classical Greece, and in an unusual format as well: two operas by different composers – Gluck and Bertoni – will treat the myth of Orpheus in two different ways.
The first part will feature Gluck's most popular opera, Orfeo ed Euridice. The opera also deeply influenced the greatest composers of later eras, including Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner. Twelve years after its first performance in Vienna in 1762, the composer revised the work, also renaming it Orfée et Eurydice, to suit the tastes of Parisian audiences. What we'll be presenting at the Music Academy is the Viennese version, as directed by Zita Szenteczki.
The second half of the evening will feature Ferdinando Bertoni's version of the Orpheus myth from 1776. Writing at the specific request of famed castrato Gaetano Guadagni, who had also sung the title role in Gluck's similarly titled opera 12 years earlier, the composer made no secret about working with Gluck's score as a reference point, and also used the same libretto as his predecessor did. For lovers of opera history, it will be a true treat to discover small differences amidst all the atmospheric and melodic features that are similar and even identical: the result of Bertoni's reactionary compositional technique based around the opera seria tradition and disregard for Gluck's reforms. The work is being performed in the Music Academy's Solti Hall in a production directed by Helga Lázár.
Sponsor: Liszt Ferenc Music Academy, Music Academy Concert Centre
Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice
The Thracian minstrel Orfeo has a voice that enchants everybody and everything, softening the stones and taming the wild beasts. After a snakebike leaves his young wife, Euridice, dead, Orfeo's song of lamentation moves the chief of the gods himself, who sends Amor to Orfeo with a message: the minstrel can get back his wife from the realm of death – with one condition: Orfeo may not look behind him on the way back, and also may not tell her of this test he must pass. Orfeo intrepidly descends into the Underworld, and even the Furies are softened by his mournful singing and allow him into the realm of Hades. Euridice is reawakened from the dead, and Orfeo rushes to return to the surface with his wife, although taking care not to look at her. Euridice, however, would prefer death to living an unhappy life with an alienated husband. Before they reach the end of their journey, Orfeo is unable to bear the trial any longer: he glances back at Euridice, who immediately sinks back into the land of the dead.