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Music Text

Libretto by Alessandro Striggio Jun.; German version by Susanne Felicitas Wolf (I,G)


S,M,T,Bar,2B; chorus;

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes / Bote & Bock

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere
Komische Oper, Berlin
Barrie Kosky, director
Conductor: André de Ridder
Company: Orchester und Ensemble der Komischen Oper Berlin



In the guise of Music, the God Amor declares that he will tell the story of the famous singer Orpheus ...
The long yearned for wedding of Orpheus and Eurydice is being celebrated with high spirits. Nature and love are both lauded through dances and songs, choral pieces and solos - until Sylvia's announcement that Eurydice has been killed by a snakebite suddenly casts a silence over this Arcadian exuberance.
Orpheus's laments do not last long. He decides to use the power of his music to lull the Gods of the Underworld and with his love snatch Eurydice from the jaws of Hades. Amor is the hope that accompanies Orpheus up to the gates to the Underworld. Charon, who bars the path to the Underworld against any mortal, is calmed by Orpheus's music, which eventually sends him to sleep.
Orpheus is indeed able to touch the Gods of the Underworld with his music: he is allowed to free his beloved Eurydice from death, but under no circumstances must he look back at her on the way to the land of the living. Filled with joy and praising the power of music, Orpheus sets out on the return journey. But his love for Eurydice makes him cast a fateful look at her, and his beloved disappears from his sight forever.
The only answer the lonely and abandoned Orpheus receives to his lamentations is an echo. Then a voice promises solace in the afterlife. Guided by his Iove-born longing, Orpheus follows ...



Recommended Recording

Komische Oper Berlin (live, 2012)
André de Ridder, cond. | Barrie Kosky, dir.
Arthaus / Unitel 109078

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