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their victories and the power of their kingdom. Act I Euridice and her father, Endimione, consult a soothsayer regarding her forthcoming wedding to Orfeo. The omens are bad. Orfeo and Euridice celebrate their love for each other, while Aristeo, son of Bacco (Bacchus), laments his fate: he too is in love with Euridice. Having confided in his ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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‘Orpheus and Eurydice’ When the Emperor Franz I and his retinue attended the premiere of Orfeo ed Euridice at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 5 October 1762, they were doubtless expecting a lightweight pastoral entertainment. The occasion – the emperor’s name day – and the opera’s billing as an azione teatrale (literally ‘theatrical action’) promised as much. What they got ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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they could follow the performance while it was in progress. It was so successful that Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga ordered a second performance. A third was planned but never took place. Orfeo was published in 1609, with a dedication to the Duke. Composed: 1606 Premiered: 1607, Mantua Libretto by Alessandro Striggio, after Ottavio Rinuccini and Ovid Prologue The figure ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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the preferred string instrument, because of its greater volume and expressive range. The Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) wrote virtuoso music for both instruments in his 1607 opera, Orfeo, and Italian composers such as Giovanni Gabrieli (1557–1612) wrote for trumpets in this way within their instrumental music. In the seventeenth century, Italian instrument makers such as Nicola ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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high-pitched cornettino. However, little music composed for the cornett is extant. Christoph Willibald von Gluck (1714–87) was among the last to include the cornett in his scoring – for Orfeo ed Euridice (1762). Gradually the cornett was replaced by other instruments that provided similar effects more easily in the orchestra, but were simpler to play. Introduction | Brass Instruments ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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and the ‘English’ tag stuck. Although the oboe da caccia faded away, the cor anglais remained popular. Its first significant outing was in Christoph Willibald von Gluck’s (1714–87) opera Orfeo ed Euridice. It became particularly associated with Italian opera during the late-eighteenth century and the major cor anglais makers were all in cities with thriving operatic lives. Developments to the ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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a tense membrane (formerly leather, now plastic) across the top and are tuned to play a single note. An instrument with military origins (as the timpani/trumpets combination in Monteverdi’s Orfeo, 1607, reminds us), timpani had intervened only occasionally in classical music to provide strictly limited local effects: the surprise chord in Haydn’s ‘Surprise’ Symphony No. 94 involves timpani ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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A trombone is a brass instrument sounded by buzzing the lips into a mouthpiece. It is peculiar amongst brass instruments in using a double ‘U’-shaped slide to alter its pitch. The early history of the trombone is confused, mostly due to a lack of clarity in naming instruments. It is generally accepted that the immediate precursor to the trombone was ...

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins
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in the eighteenth century. Retaining its ecclesiastical associations, the trombone was used to symbolize the afterlife, the descent into Purgatory or Hell. That had been its role in Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643), and in similar vein it can be found in Mozart’s sacred works, notably in the ‘Tuba Mirum’ of his Requiem. But perhaps the decisive reason ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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was the second of the three collaborations between Gluck and Calzabigi. Today it is probably more famous for the reforming manifesto of its preface than for its magnificent music. Like Orfeo, Alceste cultivates Gluck’s ideal of noble simplicity, with the whole opera based essentially on a single situation – Alcestis’s sacrifice for her dying husband. From the powerful overture ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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the story suitable for marriage celebrations, the original ending has been altered. Act I The act opens in an Arcadian village, with Euridice preparing for her marriage to Orfeo, along with nymphs and shepherds who sing of the couple’s beauty. Orfeo is similarly celebrating with his friend Arcetro and other shepherds, when a messenger, Dafne, ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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b. 1933 English mezzo-soprano Baker studied in London, and made her debut in Smetana’s The Secret in Oxford in 1956. She sang Handel roles early in her career, and made a particular impression as Purcell’s Dido, a role she recorded several times. At Covent Garden, where she first appeared as Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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fare: most notable among them was the lament. Sartorio was yet another composer to produce an opera on the tragic theme of Orpheus, in his case in 1672. His Orfeo created such a sensation that it eclipsed Cavalli’s opera Massenzio (1673), which seemed so dull by comparison that the management of the Teatro San Luca feared an anti-climax and its ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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purely decorative (as it generally had been until then). This was found powerful and rather alarming by the audiences. Their next work, the following year, was the opera Orfeo ed Euridice (given in celebration of the emperor’s nameday, it had to have a happy ending, with Eurydice restored to life). Orfeo is the first of what are ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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1714–87, German Famous above all as the composer of Orfeo ed Euridice, Christoph Willibald von Gluck was, more than anyone, responsible for purging opera of what he dubbed the ‘abuses’ of opera seria in favour of ‘beautiful simplicity’, emotional directness and dramatic truth. From Bohemia to Vienna Born in the small town of Erasbach in the Upper ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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