First Performance:
Italian Version 5 October 1762, Burgtheater, Vienna
French Version 2 August 1774, Paris OpÈra
Principal Characters:
Italian version
Orfeo Alto Castrato
(Mezzo-Soprano (Berlioz version))
Euridice, his wife Soprano
Amore Soprano
French version
OrphÈe Tenor
Eurydice, his wife Soprano
Amour Soprano

Time and Place: Ancient Thrace


At Eurydice’s funeral, OrphÈe’s grief turns to rage against
the gods. Amour tells the distraught musician that he will be allowed to
descend to the underworld to retrieve his wife if, through his music, he can
appease the Furies.

There is a second condition that must be fulfilled if he is to return
Eurydice to Earth; he must not look back at her during the journey out of the
underworld, nor may he explain to her the reason for his apparent
indifference. OrphÈe has no choice but to consent to the terms.

He subdues the Furies with his music and is permitted to enter the Elysian
Fields. There, he meets Eurydice and begins to lead her back to Earth.
Eurydice, unable to comprehend her spouse’s apparent indifference,
becomes jealous and impatient, and is finally so overcome with frustration
that she faints.

OrphÈe turns, looks, and loses her. He is distraught and on the brink of
taking his own life, when Amour appears and restores the faithful lovers to
each other.

image_description=OrphÈe et Eurydice from Relief d’HermËs (MusÈe du Louvre)
first_audio_name=Christoph Willibald Gluck (Berlioz version): OrphÈe
WinAMP, VLC, FooBar
product_title=Christoph Willibald Gluck (Berlioz version): OrphÈe
product_by=OrphÈe: Anne Sofie von Otter
Eurydice: Marie Arnet
Amor: Marianne Hellgren Staykov
Dancers, Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Stockholm Opera, Sir Richard Armstrong (cond.)
Live performance, 8 December 2007, Stockholm