2023 Orphée et Euridice_DSC2232_William BEAUCARDET

Opera in concert version

Orphée et Euridice


Orphée et Euridice


Choir and orchestra of Les Arts Florissants

Musical direction



Reinoud VAN MECHELEN, haute-contre, Orphée
Ana VIEIRA LEITE, soprano, Euridice
Julie ROSET, soprano, Amour - (Beaune)
Lucía MARTIN-CARTON, soprano, Amour - (Lessay)


Christoph Willibald GLUCK - Orphée et Euridice

Paul Agnew takes on a repertoire lying on the margins of Les Arts Florissants' productions with this famous opera by Gluck, still too little performed. The French version chosen is by no means trivial: later than the first Italian versions for castrati, it adapts the role of Orpheus to a haute-contre (a high tenor); it also affirms, through this definitive version, a profound desire to transform French opera and lyric theater in general.

An extraordinary success at the time of its creation, the opera was given 47 consecutive times in three months, offering "the pleasure of hearing the most sublime music that had perhaps ever been performed in France" (Grimm). At the heart of major aesthetic quarrels, Gluck succeeds here in tightening around three solo roles a simple and bare plot over three acts, thus expressing all the poetic force of his music. But above all, he gives the myth its most tragic aspect, the simplest too, in keeping with the purity of antique theater. Gluck's great project was to establish music as poetry and not to put it at the service of literature, and it is thus that, at the dawn of Romanticism, his position made opera enter a different world... Proof is the admiration that Berlioz had for the composer and for this opera in particular, which he praised for its "vaporous harmonies, these melodies as melancholic as happiness, this soft and weak instrumentation giving so well the idea of infinite peace"...

Paul Agnew confronts us here with the beauty of these universally known pages, just as he did a few years ago with a completely different "Orpheus", that of Monteverdi, the first opera in the history of music. The circle is completed!



Previous dates

Season 2024-25

Beaune / France
Cour des Hospices

  • Saturday, July 20 2024, 9pm, Festival de Beaune
Season 2023-24

Lessay / France

  • Friday, July 19 2024, 9pm, Festival Les Heures musicales

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