Monteverdi's Orfeo


libretto by Alessandro Striggio

Dec 1, 3, 5 & 6 2004

City Recital Hall Sydney

Monteverdi's Orfeo

Orfeo is the often counted as the first true opera, though there were a number before this. Monteverdi chose a fitting subject for his masterwork, and it's a subject very dear to opera composer's hearts.

From the glorious Toccata beginning the work to the tour-de-force that is the centrepiece of the work - Orfeo's Possente Spirto - this is a magical and awe-inspiring work.


Last year you brought The Fairy Queen alive as the wittiest and most intellectually engaging opera. Pinchgut’s Orfeo would have to be the most emotionally engaging (gut wrenching) opera I think I’ve ever been to.

It was just truly wonderful. I was in tears half of the time - a real healing force, that work. And so moving. Just can’t think of anything to say, other than I loved it.

One of the most memorable musical experiences of my life and the finest thing that Pinchgut has done so far in what has been 3 years of musical and dramatic excellence. I don’t really want to single anyone out since just about everyone performed their roles so splendidly but, not knowing beforehand what to expect, I was utterly bowled over by Charon/Pluto’s marvelous singing and moving. I can’t recall ever hearing or seeing before something that seems to correspond so closely to the felling evoked by the ghost in Hamlet. For the first time in my experience we really were transported to the land of the dead - or, rather, the classical underworld. The staging, the superb singing and the splendid orchestral playing - all struck just the right note. Here was the genuine feeling of Greek tragedy overlaid with Renaissance humanism - the classical austerity combined with moments of celebration of the power of the human. I could go on and on but won’t; I simply want to congratulate all the performers on having provided us with such a near-perfect version of a wonderful piece of music. The only problem now is: how are you going to top this next year!

Words rarely fail me, but the first night of Orfeo left me searching for adequate expression of the most thrilling enjoyment I experienced from that magic perfect performance of Monteverdi’s wonderful music ... we were absolutely entranced by it all. I knew the music was wonderful - but it has to be superbly performed and it was, by all the soloists, a marvelous chorus and fantastic band. We will be there next year with our ears pinned back!!

it engrossed, even entranced us, as it levitated us from the here and now backwards in time to the world of Claudio Monteverdi.


A passionate enterprise for everyone involved, Pinchgut’s L’Orfeo has a spirit of freshness and enthusiasm that is both appealing and rewarding.


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Pinchgut Opera acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the first story-tellers and singers of songs. We pay our respects to elders past, present, and emerging. 
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