Beneath the underworld

monteverdi_small.jpgBy David Jays [Financial Times, 14 April 2006]
This weekend, English National Opera premieres a new production of Monteverdiís Orfeo, the first real opera, at the London Coliseum. A 400-year-old chamber piece originally written for an Italian ducal palace must fill the largest theatre in London. Itís a big event – for the ENO and for all those involved. So what happens in the run-up to the opening night? How does the creative team communicate such an old piece to a contemporary audience and how do an incomplete score and the directorís imagination reach the stage?