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date: 16 December 2019

Orfeo(i) [L’Orfeo](‘Orpheus’)locked

  • John Whenham

Extract

[L’Orfeo](‘Orpheus’)

Favola in musica in a prologue and five acts by Claudio Monteverdi to a libretto by Alessandro Striggio based mainly on the Orpheus myth as told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, though drawing also on the account in Virgil’s Georgics; Mantua, ducal palace, 24 February 1607.

† the role of Apollo occurs in the published score but not in the librettos for the 1607 Mantua performances. ‡ this last chorus occurs in the librettos for the 1607 Mantua performances but not in the published score

Unlike Peri’s Euridice (1600), on which it is modelled, Monteverdi’s Orfeo was not written for dynastic celebrations, but simply as an entertainment for the 1607 carnival season at the Mantuan court. It was prepared under the auspices of Francesco Gonzaga, elder son of the Duke of Mantua, for performance before the Accademia degli Invaghiti. It is possible that Orfeo owes its existence to nothing more than sibling rivalry between Francesco Gonzaga and his brother Ferdinando, who from ...

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