L'Orfeo (SV 318), sometimes called La favola d'Orfeo, is a late Renaissance/early Baroque favola in musica, or opera, by Claudio Monteverdi, with a libretto by Alessandro Striggio. It is based on the Greek legend of Orpheus, and tells the story of his descent to Hades and his fruitless attempt to bring his dead bride Eurydice back to the living world. It was written in 1607 for a court performance during the annual Carnival at Mantua. While Jacopo Peri's Dafne is generally recognised as the first work in the opera genre, and the earliest surviving opera is Peri's Euridice, L'Orfeo is the earliest that is still regularly performed.
By the early 17th century the traditional intermedio—a musical sequence between the acts of a straight play—was evolving into the form of a complete musical drama or "opera". Monteverdi's L'Orfeo moved this process out of its experimental era and provided the first fully developed example of the new genre. After its initial performance the work was staged again in Mantua, and possibly in other Italian centres in the next few years. Its score was published by Monteverdi in 1609 and again in 1615. After the composer's death in 1643 the opera went unperformed for many years, and was largely forgotten until a revival of interest in the late 19th century led to a spate of modern editions and performances. At first these performances tended to be concert (unstaged) versions within institutes and music societies, but following the first modern dramatised performance in Paris, in 1911, the work began to be seen in theatres. After the Second World War many recordings were issued, and the opera was increasingly staged in opera houses, although some leading venues resisted it. In 2007, the quatercentenary of the premiere was celebrated by performances throughout the world.
Performances & Interviews
- A performance of the overture from Monteverdi’s 'l’Orfeo'https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01knp5s.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01knp5s.jpg2013-11-07T06:00:00.000ZA performance of the overture from Monteverdi’s 'l’Orfeo' by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01knp6b
A performance of the overture from Monteverdi’s 'l’Orfeo'A performance of the overture from Monteverdi’s 'l’Orfeo' by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Monteverdi: L'Orfeohttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p0208g0m.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p0208g0m.jpg2014-06-03T12:54:00.000ZRobert Hollingworth explores the musical ideas of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p0208g4n
Monteverdi: L'OrfeoRobert Hollingworth explores the musical ideas of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo.
- Monteverdi: L'Orfeohttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01wbfs3.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01wbfs3.jpg2014-03-27T17:11:00.000ZHoward Goodall and Suzy Klein discuss Monteverdi's L'Orfeo.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01wbfss
Monteverdi: L'OrfeoHoward Goodall and Suzy Klein discuss Monteverdi's L'Orfeo.
- Monteverdi: L'Orfeohttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01bqxh6.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01bqxh6.jpg2017-05-13T13:43:00.000ZBuilding a Library surveys recordings of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and makes a recommendation.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p052v0n0
Monteverdi: L'OrfeoBuilding a Library surveys recordings of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and makes a recommendation.