Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

L’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, Part 2


Orpheus and Eurydice, painting by Friedrich Rehberg, 1812

In yesterday’s post, I told you about a webcast of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo presented by The Opera Platform and the Berlin Komische Oper.

Today, I thought I would provide you with a more traditional performance of this opera so you can compare them.  This performance was presented by the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, and the orchestra, playing period instruments, is conducted by Jordi Savall.   In addition, the orchestra members are wearing what appear to be period clothing styles, pretty cool!

Yesterday’s performance was re-orchestrated by composer Elena Kats-Chernin using modern instruments.

Below you can do your own quick head-to-head comparison using the aria presented in yesterday’s post.  Yesterday’s aria is in German, today’s in the original Italian.

Here is the aria from yesterday’s post

Here is the same aria in the traditional presentation.

So, what do you think?

Oh, and here are a few more references on Monteverdi and the origins of opera.


The Root of All Opera: Monteverdi’s ‘Orfeo’,

Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and the Invention of Opera,,monteverdi-s-l-orfeo-and-the-invention-of-opera.aspx.


Image attribution: Orpheus and Eurydice, painting by Friedrich Rehberg, 1812.


2 thoughts on “L’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, Part 2

  1. I’m aware of this production, excellent, it does NOT pretend with all the modern CRAP of the “modern” performance. As I stated earlier, they should have gotten a modern composer to write his OWN approach the classic tale of Orpheus–using whatever means he finds purposeful. The German production is precisely a ridiculous waste of time, saying something terrible about lack of someone’s vision.


  2. Great info, Chris- thanks! And a really instructive comparison- and corrective to the moderne version for anyone who thought that was anything like what Monteverdi heard in his head. Again, I really enjoyed the new production for its fun and energy- and maybe it will attract some folks to Monteverdi who wouldn’t otherwise have found his music. This more trad one is o.k., though of course in comparison it’s a little laughable (and the singing style is probably a little too modern- one expects more fioratura)- but at least it’s a good deal closer to the look and sound of the original- good orchestra too!




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