Notes & Reviews:
Monteverdi's seminal first opera tells the dramatic story from Ovid's Metamorphoses of the descent of Orfeo (Georg Nigl) into the underworld to recover his beloved wife Euridice (Roberta Invernizzi). In a new production for La Scala, based on a painting by Titian and directed by Robert Wilson, the opera receives a powerful and inspiring performance from a fine cast, the Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala and Concerto Italiano under the renowned Italian early music specialist, Rinaldo Alessandrini. Filmed in high definition and recorded in true surround sound.
"I've never heard [the separation scene] more effectively sung by either Orfeo or Euridice...[Nigl] animates the recitatives by putting the words and their rhetorical structures first...In short, this is a wonderfully satisfying performance, featuring one of the finest Orfeos on disc, and a production which suits the needs of both the large-scale theatre and the small screen equally well." -International Record Review
"Director Robert Wilson takes his inspiration from a Titian painting, Venus with Eros and an Organist, and delivers a series of starkly-lit tableaux - strong geometric shapes framing the highly stylised gestures of the cast. The drama comes from Alessandrini's edition and the bite and brilliance of the La Scala orchestra, and Concerto Italiano's inventive continuo section." -BBC Music Magazine****
"the singers are drawn from the top drawer of Baroque practice...Wilson's concept of abstraction - both visual and dramatic - never seems to work with real live performers. But there's still a great deal of musical pleasure to be had from the singers and Rinaldo Alessandrini's conducting." -Classic FM Magazine***
"Beautifully flimed in Milan, this DVD shows how well Wilson's minimalist productions can take to the small screen...Alessandrini directs an authentically sized La Scala orchestra in playing that is at once historically informed and always alive...Georg Nigl, previously a Wozzeck at La Scala, sings with much beauty of voice." -Gramophone Magazine
"This bears all Wilson's trademark stylisations with slow movement and hand gestures full of meaning casting their hypnotic spell. The lighting is also crucial to Wilson's approach. The singing is enthusiastic with Georg Nigl a solid Orpheus, Roberta Invernizzi a poignant Eurydice and Sara Mingardo an outstanding Messenger." -Opera Now
The camerawork is another joy... Slow and fast zooms, shots from below and above, and cutaways maintain a variety of visual punctuation, without losing any focus on the center of dramatic activity... I'm very impressed by this L'Orfeo. From nearly every perspective it demonstrates an original but imaginative realization of the opera, and one that never loses touch with the score and the words.
The fabulous current production of Orfeo ed Euridice at the Canadian Opera Company is inspiration to seek out L'Orfeo, the 1607 opera by Claudio Monteverdi that inspired Christoph Willibald Gluck 150 years later. Its fanfare-like opening toccata announces something special - in this case a highly mannered, musically rich 2009 co-production (with the Paris Opéra) from La Scala in Milan, conceived and directed by Robert Wilson. Period-performance conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini conducts the house orchestra and, for continuos passages, Concerto Italiano, in a feast of musical riches. The cast and chorus are excellent. Especially impressive is Roberto Nigl, who has a monster job to do in the title role. To our ears, Monteverdi's music can sound mannered, so the stiff, self-consciously theatrical staging quickly begins to make sense.
Run Time: 114 min.
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.0 Surround
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian
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Works DetailsMonteverdi, Claudio : L'Orfeo
- Performers: Georg Nigl (Baritone); Sara Mingardo (Soprano); Roberta Invernizzi (Soprano); Luigi de Donato (Bass)
- Conductor: Rinaldo Alessandrini
- Ensemble: Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
- Period Time: Baroque
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1607