by Franco Fagioli


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Gluck's opera "Orfeo ed Euridice," arguably the greatest opera of the 18th century before Mozart, has an unusually complicated textual history. It exists in its original Italian and a later French version, with musical revisions and different voice ranges, and the two have been combined in various ways, once by none other than Hector Berlioz, and put back into Italian. So, although it may seem odd to start off this three-disc set with a mashup of the 1762 Vienna and 1774 Paris versions, in Italian, which the performers call "Orpheo," such manipulation is in keeping with what has been done to the opera over its history. In fact, it may be handy to have a sort of highlights reel; the first disc matches how the performers have presented the music in concert. It is followed by a complete recording of the 1762 version. But really the strength of this recording lies in the performances themselves, which combine the efforts of two disparate creative figures gorgeously. The part of Orfeo, in its original range as written for the castrato Gaetano Guadagni, is sung by the Argentine countertenor Franco Fagioli, whom conductor Laurence Equilbey bills as unmatched in this repertory right now; it is hard to argue with her. Gluck's language in this "reform" opera is less athletic than the music of the composers in the generation that preceded him, but Fagioli proves himself a master of sheer cantabile. And he is matched beautifully by the French choir Accentus and the period-instrument orchestra Insula under the direction of Equilbey. Accentus has recorded music from outside the Baroque and Classical periods, cultivating a sensuous, smooth, rich surface, and when this bounces off Fagioli's voice, the results can be spine-tingling. Check out a track that combines the two, such as the aria "Deh, placatevi con me," for the full effect. The rest of the cast is uniformly strong, and this is in general a very fine recording that puts across how physically compelling Gluck's opera must have been in its own time.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/09/2015
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028947953159
catalogNumber: 002392902
Rank: 229221


  1. Orfeo ed Euridice (Italian version), opera in 3 acts, Wq. 30
  2. Orfeo ed Euridice (Italian version), opera in 3 acts, Wq. 30

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