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13 September 2012

L'Orfeo - WOW!!!

Last night was my first live Claudio Monteverdi opera L'Orfeo. Written in 1607 it is often referred to as the first opera although the surviving 'Euridice' by Jacopo Peri written in 1600 is my preferred starting date. Beginning with the familiar grand trumpet fanfare (signature tune for the Duke of Mantua and used repeatedly by Monteverdi) it was outstanding. 10 minutes into the evening I did not know whether to cry or scream 'FUCK!" at the top of my voice as I was so excited.  This is the opening fanfare below. The production I saw was less elaborate, but no less intense in the more intimate surrounds of the Conservatorium theatre and I sat just feet away from the performers.

This was the first opera performed by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and it was also the premiere performance of a new edition of the score prepared by Italian early music specialist Rinaldo Alessandrinni with special harmony for keyboards. It was a semi staged performance with the cast in costumes performing in and around the orchestra which was on stage. The sound of original instruments was brilliant. An Array of Baroque Violins, Cello, Cornetto, Sackbut, Theorba, twin Harpsicords and Organs and an array of bells and jangly things made a live sound unique to my ear.
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra with director Paul Dryer.
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra Web
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra Facebook

Bavarian international tenor Markus Brutscher sang Orfeo with the power and passion of a true lover. He has performed in so many great opera houses and made over 50 recordings. He was impressive from his first notes and stunningly handsome.
Markus Brutscher Web Site
Sara Macliver is one of Australia's leading exponents of the Baroque. Her singing of Euridice/La Musica was beautiful.and rich as she balanced on some killer stilettos.
Bass Baritone Morgan Pearce who sang Apollo (the golden shoes of the sun god) and several other roles is a mere 24. His outstandingly precise and strong voice is a jewel. In 2011 he moved from Sydney to London as the inaugural Joan Sutherland scholar and the Royal College of Music. Just watch out for him as all indications and predictions are for a stunning career. His exceeding good looks and voice will be an asset to the stage. This is a good indication of how this boy sounded at 23.

Morgan Pearce web site
The booming bass/baritone voice of Wolf Matthias Friedrich boomed with true menace as he played Caronte/Plutone in Orfo's trip to Hades. He has inspired audiences around the globe for 30 years with his outstanding range and depth.
Wolf Matthias Friedrich Web Site
Mezzo Soprano Fiona Campbell as La Messagiera and Counter Tenor Tobias Cole as La Speranza. I had just seen Mr Cole as an outstanding Oberon in Benjamin Britten's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' with Opera  Australian back in June.
Two more beautiful voices were Richard Butler who had a wonderful baritone voice and managed to go red eyed and cry real tears at the distress of Orfeo after news of the death of Eurydice. Idon't know how he was able to sing with such a lovely tone with tears streaming down his face. I was in the third row so I could see and hear everything. Also the personality plus young tenor Robert Macfarlane. He too is off to further his considerable talent to study in Leipzig.
The other wonderful cast members were Sioban Stagg, Anna Sandstrom, Sarah Ampil, Paul Sutton and Nick Golbert.
As one review said "Performance fit for the ears of the gods."

There is a great DVD I own of Orfeo from Madrid under the direction of William Christie.

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