This ball is unusual

By December 28, 2016Blog, Opera
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Today we’re off to the underworld, which means we can add four tracks to the playlist thus filling in some of those gaps.

Jacopo Peri (1581 – 1633) was an Italian, who wrote the first opera ever, so he definitely needs to be on the list. His first opera was Dafne. It’s not a piece with which I’m familiar, but that’s probably because all the evidence suggest that it’s been lost. I’m nonetheless including it for the sake of completeness. There are some clips on You-Tube here, but the blurb says it’s a reconstruction and so I have no idea whether this even resembles the original or not.

Therefore, to be on the safe side, we’re going to add something from his opera Euridice to the list. Quick refresher: Eurydice was a nymph married to Orpheus in Greek mythology. And she starts quite the chain of events, not to mention inspiring a few operas along the way. First to the underworld section of the playlist is Per quel vago boschetto. Next up is Lasciate I monti from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo.

Gluck then writes an opera about both of them in which Orfeo placates the furies with his lyre – if only life were that simple, I’d take up lyre lessons. Here we see the wonderful Janet Baker singing the moving Ah! Se intorno a quest’urna furnesta.

We probably need a bit of cheering up after all that gloom in the underworld, so we’ll finish on a high – Ce bal est original from Offenbach’s Orphée Aux Enfers.

And we could have added Berlioz and Caccini to the underworld list, but we need to save something for next year.