Orfeo ed Euridice (TV Movie 1982) Poster

(1982 TV Movie)

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A wonderful performance of a most important opera
theoshul21 January 2010
Mozart felt about Gluck the way most people feel about Mozart: transported out of himself with joy by his music. ORPHEUS ED EURIDICE is Gluck's most famous opera and it is far and away the most influential. Subsequent variations on the plot include Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE, Beethoven's FIDELIO, and Wagner's DAS RHEINGOLD, all three centering on underground rescue missions which require the protagonist to control or conceal his emotions in the face of strong temptation. Echos from the climactic duet can be heard in all Mozart's mature operas; also in Fidelio and in Haydn's CREATION. Really if you're beginning a classical-vocal education this piece is one of the best places to start. (It's OK to skip some of the ballet sections if you get bored, although the Dance of the Furies is lively and intimidating.)

Orpheus was the signature role of the British mezzo-soprano superstar Dame Janet Baker. It's a very difficult role to play because you must be a frenzied adolescent like Cherubino or Octavian, but you must also have dignity and depth like Leonore. Baker brings it so much to life it's easy to forget she's an actress even though she's playing a man! She's well-supported by delicate-sounding Elizabeth Gale as Euridice and sweet Elisabeth Speiser as the Infant Love-Goddess. The choruses are formidable; the Chorus of Furies carries almost enough testosterone to make up for there being no principal male roles.

If there's a flaw, it's that there's a lot of blue in the lighting and sets. I started to think I was under water rather than under ground.
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Gluck performance as it should be
TheLittleSongbird31 October 2012
Orfeo Ed Euridice is I believe Gluck's most popular opera, and you can definitely see why as the story is very moving and the music amazing. Of the other Gluck operas heard and seen, the dramatic and emotional Iphigenie En Tauride for me is the only one that comes to Orfeo Ed Euridice's level and almost surpasses it. I love this production, and feel that it is a textbook example of how to stage and perform this opera and that productions should learn from it. The production is traditional and looks beautiful, from the handsome conservative settings and classic costumes. I do agree though that there were times where it felt as if there was too much blue. The staging is always involving and never too static or square, the most inspired touch being Orfeo descending into Ades. The Elysian Fields sequence was lovely also. The ballet sequences are nimbly choreographed and danced with passion and grace, it is all very simple but effective in that respect. The orchestral playing manages to be stylish and nuanced, and the conducting keeps things moving briskly. The three leads are faultless. Elizabeth Gale is very good as Amor, and Elizabeth Speicer is a beautiful and moving Euridice, you can definitely see what Orfeo saw in her in the first place. But it was Janet Baker that really captivated. Like Kathaleen Ferrier before her, Orfeo was her signature role and you can see why in this performance. Okay, she is not the most masculine Orfeo there has been, but when everything else is so good that wasn't an issue for me. Her acting is a masterclass of frenzy, dignity and torment, and she as ever sings with a firm and beautiful tone and with some of the best artistry of any mezzo. All in all, Gluck opera as it should be performed, and a must for particularly Baker's performance. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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