Favola in musica

Composer Claudio Monteverdi · Alessandro Striggio

Saturday, 30. May 2020
12:00 pm – 02:00 pm

Duration est. 2 hours

Video-on-Demand via STAATSOPER.TV

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This video-on-demand is available free of charge on STAATSOPER.TV from 30 May 2020, 12.00 pm to 13 June 2020, 11.59 am.

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Despite some precursors, the first performance of Monteverdi's L’Orfeo in Mantua in 1607 marked the start of the success story of opera. And – the history of opera starts with the rebellion of an artist who cannot accept the death of his wife. The singer Orfeo attempts and achieves the impossible: the gods allow him to take his wife Euridice back to the land of the living, thanks to his beguiling song, which appeals to every sense. Yet he fails, he fails as a human being. But the possibility and the hope remain that the singer can break down every boundary with his art, time and again – and today?


Music has come from the sources of the Permessos into a region bearing the mark of destruction in order to tell the story of the famous singer Orfeo, a story intended to bring courage and hope to wounded souls.

To this end the place is transformed into an arcadia of flowers in which shepherds and nymphs plan to celebrate the wedding of Orfeo and Euridice now that the latter has finally yielded and agreed to marry Orfeo.

However a messenger interrupts the happy singing with a dreadful piece of news: Euridice has been bitten by a snake and died. At the sight of  Euridice’s corpse Orfeo decides that he will not allow his beloved simply to descend into the underworld. He intends to follow her there. He is accompanied by music, who personifies hope for Orfeo.

But Caronte refuses to allow him to enter the kingdom of the dead so Orfeo, buoyed by hope, tells of his misfortune and begs the gods of the underworld to return Euridice to him. It is, however, only after Caronte has fallen asleep that Orfeo succeeds in entering Hades. A chorus of spirits rejoices.

Proserpina and Plutone  argue. Moved by Orfeo’s singing, Proserpina  persuades her husband to grant Orfeo’s request. Plutone, however, only agrees on one condition: on the way back to the world of the living Orfeo must not turn around to look at Euridice. But Orfeo fails to comply. When he hears a tremendous noise, Orfeo turns to look at his wife, who must now stay in the underworld forever.

Orfeo’s sorrow is boundless, not even the memories of his wedding celebration provide consolation. Even Apollo’s suggestion that he should accompany him to Heaven seems to Orfeo to offer no prospects. He dies, marked by his suffering.

Music is left alone with her memories of Orfeo and Euridice.

Premiere of Claudio Monteverdi's "L'Orfeo" on July 20, 2014 in the Prinzregententheater

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