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Monteverdi: L'Orfeo

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Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
Following her superb recording of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Susan Graham and Ian Bostridge, conductor Emmanuelle Ha?m turns to history's first opera, Monteverdi's Orfeo, leading an equally starry cast. Bostridge takes on the title role here, and his combination of lyrical intensity and erudite nobility are right on the mark, though there's also an unexpected element of sensuality in his singing that seems entirely appropriate to such richly expressive music. Many of the other singers, like Veronique Gens Properina and Paul Agnew Eco, also have extensive early-music experience. Others, like Natalie Dessay La Musica -- an inspired, luxurious piece of casting ...
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04/06/2004 CD Box set Good 010 Item may show signs of shelf wear. Booklets may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if ... applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting listeners since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
Following her superb recording of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Susan Graham and Ian Bostridge, conductor Emmanuelle Haïm turns to history's first opera, Monteverdi's Orfeo, leading an equally starry cast. Bostridge takes on the title role here, and his combination of lyrical intensity and erudite nobility are right on the mark, though there's also an unexpected element of sensuality in his singing that seems entirely appropriate to such richly expressive music. Many of the other singers, like Veronique Gens Properina and Paul Agnew Eco, also have extensive early-music experience. Others, like Natalie Dessay La Musica -- an inspired, luxurious piece of casting -- and Christopher Maltman Apollo, are associated with 19th- and 20th-century repertory. Still, this cast really gels, not just in terms of tonal blend and precision of ensemble but also in the way the drama moves with such naturalness and inevitability. Credit for this goes, of course, to the conductor. Purists may cluck their tongues at some of her fanciful orchestral touches, like the snappy percussion parts added to the Act One chorus "Lasciate i monti," for example. But how vividly this story is told. One gets the sense that these are living, breathing characters, not stiff, cardboard figures striking poses. There are other fine recordings of this opera available, including critically acclaimed versions by John Eliot Gardiner and Réné Jacobs, but Haïm's new account goes straight to the head of the list.
All Music Guide - Allen Schrott
After almost 400 years, you might think Monteverdi's "L'Orfeo" would have lost its luster. But in the right hands it can still be deeply exciting, allowing you to relive the birth of an electric and emotionally charged new art form. Emmanuelle Haïm's new "L'Orfeo," starring Ian Bostridge, is that kind of experience. It combines truly electric instrumental playing with committed, daring performances to great effect, making for one of the most enjoyable opera recordings to come along in a while. Haïm, who has the Midas touch for Baroque opera, leads this performance with infectious energy, perfect tempo, and dramatic timing. Le Concert d'Astrée, along with Les Sacqueboutiers, turns in a spirited but still clean reading of the score. Bostridge is an ardent Orfeo, revealing a more dramatic aspect to his singing that is very welcome; he has also makes an admirable stab at the idiosyncratic vocal ornamention of the period. Natalie Dessay throws aside notions of the white-voiced early music singer, and tears into La Musica's prologue with real flair. Véronique Gens shines in her brief moments as Proserpina, and Patrizia Ciofi manages to be genuinely entrancing as Euridice, even though she only appears a few times in the score. The supporting cast is uneven; Christopher Maltman is outstanding as Apollo and one of the "Pastori," but many of the other voices are weak and unfocused. However, when they all join together for ensembles, they hit the nail on the head. In general, sticklers for historically "accurate" vocalism a sticky matter anyway, since we have no recordings to confirm the conclusions of scholars will likely be dissatisfied with this recording. But those who care more about dramatic effect will find a lot to enjoy. There are a couple of good "L'Orfeos" already on the market, notably John Eliot Gardiner's from the 1980s. It may actually be cleaner in a few spots than this recording. But no one has ever captured the urgent combination of drama and music that was the motivating force behind "L'Orfeo" any better than you'll hear on this disc.
New York Times - James R. Oestreich
Ian Bostridge proves ideal for the role of Orfeo.
Gramophone - David Vickers
Purists will be divided over the liberties Haim takes, but her performance contains a wealth of musical interest, and I recommend it as a stimulating alternative to the fine pedigree of recordings that has preceded it.
Classic FM Magazine - Andrew Stewart
It’s the upfront nature of the music making, together with beguiling singing from Bostridge and Ciofi, that place [Haim's] account of Monteverdi’s first opera in company with the best on disc.

Ian Bostridge proves ideal for the role of Orfeo.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/6/2004
  • Label: Emi Classics
  • UPC: 724354564222
  • Catalog Number: 45642

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–80 La favola d'Orfeo, opera, SV 318 - Emmanuelle Haïm & Claudio Monteverdi (95:32)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Emmanuelle Haïm Conductor
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    More Verdi Then Monte

    What a strange and thoroughly bizarre recording of this great work, the first full opera in the history of music. Emmanuelle Haim has a concept of the work that is more fitting to Verdi and 19th-ceitnry grand opera than the beautiful chamber quality of Monteverdi's magnificent work. Sonia Prina, for instance, in the role os Speranza sounds like she is singing Azucena's aria &quot Stride La Vampa&quot Except for some shining exceptions, most of the singers are totally unsuited to singing Baroque music. One of those exceptions is Veronique Gens whose Baroque soprano should be a French national treasure. As far as ornamentation is concerned, there is very little and what there is sounds like Bel Canto and not true Baroque ornamentation practice of the period. I must say, that even with the addition of drums in certain of the set pieces, the instrumentation and colors in the continuo are rather delicious. It is a shame that the kind of attention that was paid to the instruments was not paid to the singers. My favorite recording of L'Orfeo is that of John Eliot Gardiner with the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists. This is L Orfeo as it was meant to be, a great dance from beginning to end, done in the proportions of chamber music, and not Grand Opera. I do not recommend this recording at all, unless one is interested in a quirky, mannered, ill-conceived bad joke.

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