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Orfeo ed Euridice CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK (1714 – 1787)

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Orfeo ed Euridice Study Guide


Table of Contents Orfeo ed Euridice: Backgrounds and Characters....................................................................3 Orfeo ed Euridice: Synopsis..............................................................................................................5 Christoph Willibald Gluck................................................................................................................6 The Life and Times of Christoph Willibald Gluck.................................................................7 Gluck’s Music.........................................................................................................................................10 Orfeo ed Euridice: Greek Mythology Role-Play.......................................................................11 Orfeo ed Euridice: Dramatic Representation of the Furies Activity...............................13 Orfeo ed Euridice: Retelling the Tale............................................................................................14

Cover: The COC presents Orfeo ed Euridice. David Daniels as Orfeo and Isabel Bayrakdarian as Euridice in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production, 2006. Below: David Daniels (centre) as Orfeo. Photos: Robert Kusel/Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Orfeo ed Euridice: Background and Characters As the curtain of the Burgtheater (in Vienna, Austria) rose on the premiere of Orfeo ed Euridice on Oct. 5, 1762, no one in the audience probably guessed that they were about to witness a major event in operatic history, but that is exactly what the arrival of Gluck’s opera proved to be. Orfeo was the first of a series of three “reform operas” that were the result of an inspired collaboration between Gluck and librettist* Ranieri de’ Calzabigi. Up until these reform operas, the principal operatic form of the 17th and 18th centuries was opera seria, a highly formalized style of opera. Opera seria libretti drew upon themes in history or ancient myth and told stories involving one-dimensional, noble or god-like characters. Productions were pageantlike and extravagant, and the music favoured elaborate arias that showed off a performer’s vocal prowess often at the expense of a coherent plot. In creating Orfeo ed

Euridice, Gluck and Calzabigi sought a “noble simplicity” ensuring that emotions were direct and clearly-stated. In reform operas, text and music became equally important to the development of the story. Orfeo ed Euridice was a breath of fresh air for audiences accustomed to the extravagant spectacle of opera seria, and was a success from its first performance. Gluck later created another, longer version in French (Orphée et Euridyce), with the role of Orphée sung by a tenor instead of a castrato**. In 1859 the composer Hector Berlioz created a third version: a compromise between the Italian and French versions, which was popular throughout the rest of the 19th century and into the 20th, but over the last 50 years opera houses have returned to Gluck’s original French and Italian versions.

**A castrato (castrati in the plural) was a male soprano or contralto, whose unbroken voice was preserved by means of a surgical operation before puberty. They were the rock stars of Baroque opera, but fell out of favour during the late 18th century, when operas such as Orfeo ed Euridice ushered in a new era of naturalism.

*A librettist is someone who writes the “libretto” (the text) of an opera. Some composers, like Richard Wagner, prefer to write both music and words, but an opera is most often a partnership between a composer and a writer.

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MAIN CHARACTERS Name Orfeo Euridice Amore

Description A musician and poet Orfeo’s wife, recently deceased The God of Love

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Voice Type Countertenor Soprano Soprano

Dress Rehearsal: May 6 at 7:30 p.m. Performances: May 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 24, 26, 28, 2011 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Pronunciation or-FEH-oh eh-oo-ree-DEE-cheh ah-MOHR-eh

Orfeo ed Euridice is a rental from Lyric Opera of Chicago. It’s performed in Italian with English SURTITLES™.

The COC presents Orfeo ed Euridice. David Daniels (centre) as Orfeo in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production, 2006. Photo: Robert Kusel/Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Orfeo ed Euridice: Synopsis ACT I Orfeo is grieving for his dead wife Euridice. He appeals to his beloved to return, and then to the gods for their mercy for his overwhelming grief, but his entreaties go unanswered. Finally his grief turns to resolve and he curses the fates. He is determined to find her, even if it means facing death to reach her. Amore appears to help Orfeo, telling him that Jupiter feels pity for his grief. If Orfeo can cross the river of Lethe* alive, and, with his singing, calm the Furies**, monsters and death itself, Euridice will be returned to life. Amore explains that there is a condition: he cannot look upon his wife until they have left the caverns of the Styx***, nor can he tell her of this condition. If he breaks it, he will lose her forever. Orfeo is unnerved, knowing that both he and Euridice will be overcome with love and joy when they are reunited. He is determined to suffer a little longer if it means he can get his wife back. ACT II In a cavern on the far bank of the river Cocytus****, Furies and Spectres are outraged at the arrival of a live man in their realm. Orfeo sings to them of his grief and the mob is calmed. They open the gates to Hades for him to proceed. In Elysium, Orfeo is enchanted by the beauty of the abode of blessed heroes. A group of Heroes and Heroines tell him that Euridice is already returning to life. Orfeo impatiently waits until his wife is brought forth. Without a word or a glance, he takes her hand and leads her from Elysium. In a dark cavern, an overwhelmed Euridice follows her husband. Orfeo reassures her that he is still very much alive and that he is leading her back to the world of the living. Euridice asks Orfeo why he will not look at her. Orfeo is tempted, but steels himself to remain strong. Euridice is overcome with sadness and Orfeo can no longer resist: he turns around to look into her eyes just before she dies again. Grief-stricken, Orfeo cannot imagine life without her, and takes out a dagger to kill himself. Amore suddenly appears and disarms Orfeo, telling him that he has suffered enough for love and that no more sacrifice will be demanded. Amore then brings Euridice to life again, to be reunited joyfully with her husband.

The COC presents Orfeo ed Euridice. Isabel Bayrakdarian as Euridice in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production, 2006. Photo: Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago

*Lethe (river of forgetfulness), the ***Styx (river of hate) and ****Cocytus (river of lamentation) were three of the five rivers that flowed through the Greek underworld. **Furies were the personifications of the anger of the dead in ancient Greek mythology.

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Christoph Willibald Gluck Composer Christoph Willibald Gluck was born July 2, 1714 in Erasbach, Upper Palatinate, Germany. His interest in music was evident from an early age. His father was opposed to a career in music and wanted Gluck to follow in his footsteps and become a forester. Gluck ran away at age 13 to Prague where he earned his living singing and playing various instruments in orchestras and churches. Gluck had little formal musical training and was almost completely self-taught. His early career as a musician and composer took him all over Europe, where he played in orchestras and accepted composing commissions. In 1752, at the age of 38, he settled in Vienna, which was to be his home, apart from some extended visits to Paris, for the rest of his life. He married Maria Anna Bergin, which was advantageous on at least two levels: she was the daughter of a wealthy merchant, and she had connections to the imperial court, which helped Gluck’s career. Another advantageous connection was his friendship with Count Durazzo, an important Viennese theatrical figure who brought French opéra-comique to the city and to Gluck, who had a successful run at composing in that particular style. Durazzo also introduced Gluck to the choreographer Gasparo Angiolini and Ranieri de’ Calzabigi, a multi-talented man of theatre and a follower of the French Enlightenment.

A portrait of Gluck by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis, dated from 1775, which resides at the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

The three artists collaborated on a rebellious new ballet of Don Juan (1761), which incorporated more of the French influences they admired. With de’ Calzabigi, Gluck would create his three “reform” operas: Orfeo ed Euridice (1762), Alceste (1767) and Paride ed Elena (1770). With the premiere of Orfeo ed Euridice Gluck provided a turning point in the history of opera.

(1774). This was a triumph when it premiered in Paris, at the Académie Royale, where Gluck was also enjoying the support of a former Vienna pupil of his, Marie-Antoinette, the French dauphine. The rest of Gluck’s career was spent living in Vienna, visiting Paris and composing operas for the French theatre. Highlights of that period include the expanded, Frenchlanguage version of Orfeo ed Euridice, titled Orphée et Eurydice, a reworking of Alceste and his final masterpiece, Iphigénie en Tauride (1779).

This reform aimed to move away from opera seria, doing away with complex plots and overly ornate music that he and his collaborators perceived to be a hindrance to real expression. Instead they sought a noble simplicity in both music and drama. The continued French influence on his work led Gluck to compose his first serious French opera, Iphigénie en Aulide

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A series of strokes left Gluck too weak to travel, and he spent his last days in Vienna, living in high style right up to his death on Nov. 15, 1787.

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The Life and Times of Christoph Willibald Gluck 1714 w Christoph Willibald Gluck is born on July 2 in Erasbach, Germany. He shows an early interest in music, and begins studying the violin, the cello and singing.

w Librettist, poet and businessman and Gluck’s collaborator for the opera Orfeo ed Euridice, Ranieri de’ Calzabigi, is born in Livorno, Italy.

1715

w Louis XIV, “The Sun King” of France, dies at the age of 76. He is succeeded by his greatgrandson, Louis XV.

1717

w A 13-year-old Gluck runs away from home to avoid having to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a forester. He goes to Prague and earns his living singing and playing various instruments in orchestras and churches.

w Handel’s famous Water Music suites are first performed on a barge in the River Thames, London.

1719

w Daniel Defoe publishes Robinson Crusoe.

w Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father, is born May 28.

1731

w Gluck begins studying logic and mathematics at the University of Prague. He doesn’t finish his degree, and vanishes from historical record until a few years later.

w The La Verendrye family begins organizing expeditions beyond Lake Winnipeg and directs fur trade toward eastern Canada.

1737

w Gluck is engaged by Prince Melzi to play in his orchestra in Milan.

w Marguerite d’Youville and three other women found a religious association in Montreal to provide a home for the poor, in the face of social conventions of the day. The association signifies the birth of the nationwide religious and charitable order known as the “Grey Nuns.”

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w Antonio Stradivari, maker of the world-famous Stradivarius string instruments, dies in Cremona, Italy on December 18.

1741

w Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi, composer of the famous violin concertos The Four Seasons, dies on July 28 in Vienna, Austria.

w Gluck’s first opera, Artaserse, premieres in Milan on December 26.

1749

w Edward Cornwallis founds Halifax.

1750

w Gluck settles in Vienna after several years of travel around Europe. On September 15, Gluck marries Maria Anna Bergin, the daughter of a wealthy Viennese merchant, with important connections to the imperial court. The marriage brings Gluck financial stability, and introduces him to an important patron, the Prince of Saxe-Hildburghausen, who appoints him head of his orchestra.

w Composer Johann Sebastian Bach dies on July 28, in Leipzig, Germany, signaling the beginning of the decline of the Baroque period of art and culture, and the subsequent birth of the Rococco period.

1755

w Premiere of Gluck’s opera L’innocenza giustificata, a collaboration with librettist Count Durazzo, who is responsible for bringing French opéra comique to Vienna.

w Marie Antoinette, future Queen of France, is born on December 2 in Vienna. Gluck becomes her childhood singing teacher several years later.

1756

w Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is born on Jan. 27 in Salzburg, Austria.

w In Europe, England declares war on France, beginning the Seven Years’ War. In North America, the French and Indian War – also fought between the French and the British, and considered a precursor to the Seven Years’ War – enters its second year.

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1759

w General Wolfe defeats French troops on the Plains of Abraham and takes Quebec. Both Wolfe and French commander Montcalm are killed.

w Marie Antoinette, the 14-year-old daughter of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, marries 15-year-old Louis-Auguste of France on May 16.

w George Frideric Handel dies in London, April 14. 1761

w Gluck collaborates with choreographer Gasparo Angiolini to create a revolutionary, dramatic ballet called Don Juan.

1762

w Orfeo ed Euridice premieres in Vienna on October 5 to great success, with the great alto castrato Gaetano Guadagni singing the role of Orfeo. It is the first opera to result from the collaboration between Gluck and Ranieri de’ Calzabigi, who shares Gluck’s goal of “noble simplicity” in music.

1763

w The Treaty of Paris cedes Quebec to the British, ending the Seven Years’ War.

1764

w At age 8, Mozart writes his first symphony.

w The Quebec Gazette, known today as the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, begins publication. It is North America’s longestrunning newspaper.

w Paride ed Elena, the third and final of Gluck’s “reform” operas, premieres in Vienna on Nov. 3. It is not received with the same warmth as the previous two, and proves to be the least frequently revived of the trio.

1767

w Alceste, the second of Gluck’s and Calzabigi’s “reform” operas, premieres in Vienna on Dec. 26. The opera’s score has a famous dedicatory preface in which Gluck outlined their reform manifesto: in short, to abandon the excesses of opera seria and create opera that speaks to the truth of human emotions, and revels in the purity and power of simple music.

1770

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w A tax on tea and paper is imposed on American colonies by the British Government, leading to the historic Boston Tea Party political movement of 1773.

w Ludwig van Beethoven is born in Bonn, Germany, in late November or early December.

1774

w With the support of his former singing pupil Marie-Antoinette, now Dauphine of France, Gluck’s latest opera, Iphigénie en Tauride premieres in Paris on April 19. It is a triumph, but the run of performances is interrupted by the death of Louis XV a month later. While the theatres are closed, Gluck quickly revises Orfeo and makes a French version of the opera with a translation of the libretto by Pierre Louis Moline. Orphée et Euridyce premieres August of the same year, and is an even greater success than Iphigénie. Marie Antoinette, to whom Gluck dedicated Orphée, awards him an annual pension of 6,000 livres (the old French currency).

w

1777

w Armide, Gluck’s second last opera, premieres in Paris on Sept. 23.

w Congress adopts The Stars and Stripes as the flag of The United States.

1778

w France and the United States sign the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, which allied France and the U.S. against their common enemy, Britain. The treaty, and Louis XVI’s subsequent declaration of war on Britain, helped the United States win their independence.

w On March 5, British soldiers open fire on a mob of protesters in what is later called the Boston Massacre. It is believed to be one of the pivotal events leading up to the American Revolution. Canadian Opera Company 2010/2011

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To prevent the French settlers in Quebec from joining the American settlers in civil unrest, Britain passes the Quebec Act, which reinstates French civil law and allows the practice of Roman Catholicism in the colony.

Orfeo ed Euridice Study Guide


w The opera house La Scala opens in Milan, Italy.

w Mozart’s mother, Maria Anna, dies in Paris while accompanying the composer on a tour of Europe.

1779

w Gluck’s final operas premiere in Paris: Iphigénie en Tauride on May 18, which is another success, and Echo et Narcisse on Sept. 4, which is not, and runs for only 12 performances. In October Gluck leaves Paris for the final time and returns to Vienna, where he lives the final years of his life in semiretirement.

1781

1783

w Britain and America sign the Treaty of Paris, ending the American Revolution and recognizing the independence of the U.S.

1787

w Mozart premieres Don Giovanni in Prague on Oct. 29. The opera is widely thought to be one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed.

w Gluck dies in Vienna on Nov. 15, at age 73, after suffering a stroke. A formal commemoration of his life takes place on April 8, 1788.

w

w Mozart premieres Idomeneo in Munich, Germany.

The U.S. Constitution is drafted in Philadelphia. Delaware ratifies the document and becomes the first U.S. state. Pennsylvania and New Jersey soon follow suit.

The COC presents Orfeo ed Euridice. David Daniels as Orfeo and Isabel Bayrakdarian as Euridice in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production, 2006. Photo: Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Gluck’s Music George Frideric Handel, the celebrated composer and contemporary of Gluck, famously said that Gluck “knew no more of counterpoint than his cook.” This comment becomes less offensive when one takes into account the fact that Handel’s cook was actually a highly accomplished bass, who sang in several of Handel’s operas. Still, it is rather amazing that a man with little formal training in musical education should have become such a historically important composer. Then again, perhaps the fact that Gluck was largely self-taught was the reason he was able to recognize many of the musical customs of his contemporaries as the excesses they sometimes were, and the reason he felt freer to experiment and follow his own principles. At the beginning of his career, Gluck’s music fit squarely into the typical Baroque style: complex counterpoint (two or more different musical lines that are played simultaneously), an emphasis on virtuosity of the player or singer, with little attempt to evoke or imitate emotion. One could argue that Baroque music is largely “head music” – clever, full of strict rules and resisting the urge to become “debased” by vulgar emotion. Gluck’s first opera, Artaserse, premiered in Milan in 1741. This was set to a libretto by Metastasio, the leading opera seria librettist, and featured all the opera seria conventions of the day, favouring arias full of vocal pyrotechnics, one-dimensional characters and a heavy emphasis on the glory of the nobility. It wasn’t until Gluck settled in Vienna in 1750 that his musical style began to evolve.

two “reform” operas (Alceste and Paride ed Elena) there is purpose in everything – vocal lines, text, orchestral accompaniment and passages: all serve to further the drama of the piece. Compared to the elaborate and ornamented music that his contemporaries were writing, Gluck’s work was truly revolutionary. Gluck’s work has influenced many composers, including Mozart, Berlioz and Wagner. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Gluck’s music is that Orfeo ed Euridice is one of the few Baroque operas that remains in the popular repertory of modern opera companies.

The COC presents Orfeo ed Euridice. Isabel Bayrakdarian as Euridice in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production, 2006. Photo: Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago

Through an acquaintance with Count Durazzo, the head of the court theatre, Gluck was introduced to the opéras comiques that were popular in France. These were less formal in structure than Italian opera seria, and written for the public rather than the court. Gluck immediately took to the opéra comique style, adapting some French operas for Viennese audiences. Then, in 1762, again thanks to an introduction from Count Durazzo, Gluck collaborated with Ranieri de’ Calzabigi to create Orfeo ed Euridice, which combined French and Italian styles. Both composer and librettist were tired of the conventions and stylization of opera seria, and longed to see opera that was simple, truthful and heartfelt on the Italian stage. In Orfeo, Gluck dispensed with the long secco recitatives,* and removed the opportunity for vocalists to improvise and show off in the midst of an aria. The orchestra takes a more important role, and part of Gluck’s manifesto was that the orchestral opening of an opera, an overture, should anticipate the drama and prepare the audience for what they are about to see and hear. In Orfeo ed Euridice and Gluck’s other

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*Secco recitative Recitative is a style of vocal composition that mimics speech, and is used between arias to link the action. Secco (“dry” in Italian) recitative is sparsely accompanied, often by a single instrument. By using the orchestra as an accompaniment to the recitative in Orfeo, Gluck gave the “speech” or narrative parts of the opera more importance, and created a more harmonious and flowing musical experience.

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Orfeo ed Euridice Study Guide


Orfeo ed Euridice: Greek Mythology Role-Play Can be used in: English, History, Music, Drama The traditional narratives of ancient Greek mythology were seen as true stories to the ancient Greeks and they shaped the way they lived. In ancient Greek mythology each god, hero or creature has his or her own story, and represents certain characteristics. The story of Orfeo ed Euridice is derived from Greek myth. Orfeo is chief amongst poets and musicians; Euridice is a nymph and the daughter of Apollo, the god of light, truth, prophecy and the arts; and Amore is the god of love. The activity presented below can be conducted in a number of different classes. It gives students the freedom to be creative and use their imagination to become a participant of ancient Greek mythology.

This activity will be based on a RAFT (Role, Audience, Format and Topic). Students will work in pairs or groups of three. Each student will choose a character from ancient Greek mythology and research the history of that character. In the rest of the columns of the RAFT, students will choose the audience they will be writing or presenting to, the format they are composing and the topic they are basing their composition on. This activity gives students the choice to act or write. The next page is the graph the students will use to formulate their own assignment. Students will notice some specific guidelines below, pertaining to what type of format they are selecting and the length or content value of the assignment.

GUIDELINES FOR FORMAT CHOICES Diary Entry:

Two to three pages, double spaced, 12 pt. font

Role Play:

Five-minute performance, include a script

Newspaper Article:

Front page article, format in columns if possible with a photo; should equal two to three pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. font

Speech:

Two to three pages, double spaced, 12 pt. font

Conversation/ Dialogue:

Two to three pages, create a script of a conversation

Interview:

Question-and-answer period between you and the god of your choice or between two gods, two to three pages

Letter:

Written for the audience of your choice, two to three pages, double spaced, 12 pt. font

Song:

Include lyrics and/or music (notation or chords), must be at least a minute and a half long and performed for the class

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ORFEO ED EURIDICE: GREEK MYTHOLOGY RAFT Name Date

Date Due

Instructions: Select from each column and prepare your response according to the guidlines of each format.

RAFT (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) Subject: Greek Mythology

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ROLE

AUDIENCE

FORMAT

TOPIC

Zeus

General Public

Diary Entry

Love

Athena

Newspaper Readers

Role Play

Life in Greece

Hercules

Theatre Goers

Newspaper Article

Family Tree

Apollo

Opposition of the State / Villain

Speech

Music

Venus

The Gods of the Underworld

Conversation / Dialogue

Battles / War

Cupid/Eros

Head of State / Ruler

Interview

Mythical Creatures

Euridice

Children of Ancient Greece

Letter

Poetry

Orfeo

Modern-day historian

Song

Roles of the Gods / Your role as a God

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Orfeo ed Euridice: Dramatic Representation of the Furies Activity In the opera Orfeo ed Euridice, Orfeo travels to Hades to rescue his beloved Euridice. It is here that Orfeo encounters the Furies, mythical female characters that punish the wrongs of others. Furies are described as: “Spirits of punishment avenging without pity wrongs done to kindred and especially murder within the family. According to Hesiod they were the daughters of Gaia (Earth), conceived from the drops of blood spilt when Cronus castrated his father Uranus (Heaven), i.e. they were born of a crime committed by a son against a father. […] They […] came to assume the character of goddesses who punish crimes after death and seldom appear on earth. They were represented as carrying torches and scourges, and wreathed with snakes. Later writers make them three in number.1” In the COC’s production of Orfeo ed Euridice, the Furies are enacted by dancers who are choreographed to the music. They all wear white sheets and surround Orfeo onstage as the music of the lyre calms them.

This last image portrays four Furies with black eyes and vengeful faces. One carries a traditional torch. Notice their menacing body language from the tension in their arms and hands to their distorted body shapes. Opera today uses many means of showing characters. Visually, directors use light, movement, technology, dance, costumes, props, makeup and masks to convey their interpretation of the characters. The Furies, being mythological beings, allow the directors to expand their vision and represent them in an imaginative form. The only consideration is to match the scene and the action onstage to the music happening at the time. You have now become the director of Orfeo ed Euridice. The entire opera has been staged except the scene of the Furies. How will you portray them? Develop your own vision of these mythological characters. How are they portrayed to the audience? What emotions will they evoke? Remember the scene must match the music already written.

This image, taken from an Italian vase (370 BCE), depicts a more traditional interpretation of the Furies (note this is not a representation of Orfeo).

1 “Furies”  The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. Ed. M.C. Howatson and Ian Chilvers. Oxford University Press, 1996. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Queen’s University. April 1, 2010

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TEACHER PROMPT: Excperts from the opera may be accessed at coc.ca. Things to keep in mind: • Reception of audience • Movement • Costumes • Makeup/Masks • Lighting • Props

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Orfeo ed Euridice: Retelling the Tale The legend of Orpheus has fascinated and inspired interpreters since it was first related around the fifth century, BCE. Here are just a few of the many examples: Mosaic art from the first century, AD:

Two outstanding versions of the myth in film (and there have been many) include Jean Cocteau’s Orphée (1950), and Marcel Camus’ Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus, 1959), which was set in Rio, Brazil, with a stunning bossa nova soundtrack.

Orpheus Taming Wild Animals A.D. 194; Eastern Roman Empire, near Edessa, currently residing at the Dallas Museum of Art.

From the 19th century:

Black Orpheus, the movie.

Appropriately, Orpheus the great musician has inspired a great deal of music. Claudio Monteverdi wrote his opera Orfeo in 1609. A witty version of the legend, Orpheus in the Underworld (whose “Galop” has become the famous “Can Can”) was composed by Jacques Offenbach (composer of next season’s The Tales of Hoffmann) in 1858. British composer Sir Harrison Birtwhistle has also examined the Orpheus myth in his opera, The Mask of Orpheus (1986). And more recently, Nick Cave (and the Bad Seeds) have sung about The Lyre of Orpheus (2004). There is so much more to explore, proving the point that a good story can be told and re-told, providing endless inspiration.

Orpheus tries to avoid looking at his wife in Orfeo ed Euridice (1864), an oil painting by Frederick, Lord Leighton, currently residing at Leighton House Museum.

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Orfeo ed Euridice Study Guide


The COC offers a wide variety of school programs for Kindergarten to Grade 12. To find out more, visit our website at coc.ca/Explore or contact: Education & Outreach Assistant Canadian Opera Company Tel: 416-306-2392 Fax: 416-363-5584 education@coc.ca Orfeo ed Euridice Study Guide contributors: Carly Anderson, Emma Mattiacci, Tamera Newberry, Katherine Semcesen, Gillian Story and Gianna Wichelow.

The COC Gratefully Acknowledges:

Charitable Registration Number: 11883 4829 RR0001

Above: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Photo: Sam Javanrouh

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Orfeo ed Euridice Study Guide

Orfeo ed Euridice Study Guide  

The legend of Orpheus has fascinated and inspired interpreters since it was first related around the fifth century, BCE. Read about the oper...

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