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The Tuesday Night Opera with Peter Van De Graaff: Orfeo

Les Arts Florissants (c) Philippe Matsas

Les Arts Florissants (c) Philippe Matsas

Tuesday, February 10 at 8:00 pm

Peter presents a discussion and recording of Rossi’s “Orfeo” with Agnes Mellon, Monique Zanetti and Sandrine Piau. William Christie conducts Les Arts Florissants.

More about composer Luigi Rossi and his Orfeo from Music Academy Online:

“One of the most respected opera and cantata composers of the seventeenth century, Luigi Rossi is best-known for his opera Orfeo, which premiered in France in 1647.  This work, one of six Italian operas presented at the French court between 1645 and 1662, was part of an attempt by Cardinal Jules Mazarin, chief minister of France but a native Italian, to introduce Italian culture to France.  Partly because of the unpopularity of Mazarin himself, French audiences did not take to Orfeo or to Italian opera in general.  Today, however, Orfeo is one of the most popular and frequently performed operas of the early Baroque period.

“[Orfeo] was a visual and musical extravaganza that lasted about six hours in performance.  The opera’s critics were divided along political lines: Mazarin supporters (and, apparently, Mazarin himself) liked the opera, while Mazarin’s detractors were appalled by the cost of the production.”

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