Though originally set to an Italian libretto, "Orfeo ed Euridice", Gluck's first step in his reform of the operatic form, owes much to the genre of French opera, particularly in its' extensive use of accompanied recitative and a general absence of vocal virtuosity. In fact, it is generally supposed that Gluck frankly took Rameau's "Castor et Pollux" as his model when he sat down to compose "Orfeo": indeed, the plot of the earlier work, in particular, the rescue of Pollux by Castor from the infernal regions, has much in common with that of "Orfeo", so it is possible that Gluck took many hints from Rameau's musical treatment of the various scenes which the two works have in common. Therefore, it seems quite fitting that twelve years after the 1762 premiere of the original work, in 1774, Gluck presented his work to the Parisian public, readapting it, in the process, to suit the tastes of the audience at the Academie Royale de Musique. This reworking was given the title "Orphee et Eurydice" which is the version of this ever well-known piece that I want to present in this series of uploads.
The recording presented here is Minkowski's 2004 live recording of the work with the following cast:
Richard Croft - Orphee,
Mireille Delunsch - Eurydice,
Marion Harousseau - L'Amour,
Claire Delgado-Boge - Une ombre heureuse.
Finally, here is a link to the complete libretto:
Hope you'll enjoy :).
No. 14. Aria - "J'ai perdu mon Eurydice". Orphee second lament would have to be the opera's most famous and its' most criticized aria. Truth be told, it does seem dramatically rather relaxed, especially coming after an impassioned and tormented recitative. Set in the form of the rondo, it features only one movement (the fourth, 5:30) which is suitably mournful in melody. Gluck faced criticism during his lifetime of "Che faro senza Euridice?" on the grounds that it was emotionally uninvolved; he responded by pointing out the absolute necessity of fine execution of the aria: "make the slightest change, either in the movement or in the turn of expression, and it will become a saltarello for marionettes". And, in accordance with Gluck's defence, one does feel that the piece lends true credibility to Orpheus' lament: he has completely lost all hope of recovering his wife and his aria, sounding slightly odd in its' surroundings, helps to note his complete breakdown at seeing his wife dead for a second time. And, after all, it is a beautiful piece of music :).
Again, hope you'll enjoy :).