AGNEW Paul - Oscar Ortega

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


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"...

There is no doubt that Paul Agnew, who is conducting for the first time in the Grande Salle Pierre Boulez, will be able to confront us with the sublime 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!

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Previous dates

Season 2022-23

Paris / France
Philharmonie de Paris

  • Monday, February 20 2023, 8pm

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