Baroque arias by Christoph Willibald Gluck, Nicola Antonio Porpora,
Johann Adolph Hasse, Giovanni Alberto Ristori et al.
Wednesday 23 November 2016, 7 pm until 9.15 pm (Intermission: 8 pm)
Descended from gods as the putative son of Oeagrus or even Apollo himself and the muse Calliope, it is said of Orpheus that he was the best singer who ever lived. His singing appeased and enchanted people, animals, plants and stones, and even the gods. With his sung lament, Orpheus succeeded in moving the god of the underworld to allow him — albeit on certain conditions, but he allowed it nonetheless — to bring his beloved wife Eurydice back from the underworld. Because Orpheus had a divine spirit but human feelings, he was unable to fulfil the conditions, and once his beloved was irretrievably lost even his singing could no longer help him. He remained sad and would not look at another woman until the Maenads ripped him to shreds, furious at his refusal to acknowledge them. It is no wonder that Orpheus has so often been chosen as the subject of new compositions since the beginning of the history of opera. This concert features excerpts from well-known Orpheus operas such as Christoph Willibald Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (Vienna, 1762), Nicola Antonio Porpora's Orfeo (London, 1736), Johann Adolph Hasse's Orfeo (London, 1736) and one less well-known work by Giovanni Alberto Ristori, I lamenti di Orfeo (Dresden, 1749).