Gluck – Orfeo ed Euridice
CAST: Philippe Jaroussky: Orfeo; Amanda Forsythe: Euridice; Emőke Baráth: Amore
Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera
Diego Fasolis, conductor
Orfeo ed Euridice: Overview
It seems that countertenor Philippe Jaroussky has an inclination towards Orfeo. After the release of La Storia di Orfeo last year (a recording which is actually a combination of three different Orfeos), now it is time for him to record a complete opera dedicated to one of the most popular classical myths.
Orfeo ed Euridice is the first and most emblematic opera of Gluck’s and librettist Ranieri de’ Calzabigi’s “reform”. Their purpose was to find a better integration between music and poetry, in an attempt to unify Italian and French style.
Gluck revised Orfeo ed Euridice few years after the premiere, which took place in 1762 in Vienna. He reworked the azione teatrale for a performance in Parma in 1769, when he planned to use Orfeo as the third act of Le feste d’Apollo. He also adapted it to the new orchestra, which lacked some of the original instruments.
After that, another version premiered in Naples (1774), with changes to the texture and the addition of two new arias. It is this version that Jaroussky performs in this recording, together with Amanda Forsythe (Euridice), Emőke Baráth (Amore) and conductor Diego Fasolis.
Orfeo ed Euridice: the Performance
As soon as you start listening to this Orfeo ed Euridice, the resplendence of the music is immediately appreciable. This opera is as clear and bright as a sunbeam. The voices of the soloists and of the chorus, the playing of the orchestra and Diego Fasolis’s conduction share this same, luminous trait. Fasolis, in particular, elicits vibrant sound and shimmering colours from I Barocchisti, so that the entire opera appears as a journey to the light.
There is nothing really sad in Jaroussky’s Orfeo too. The countertenor portrays a lyrical, Arcadian character whose main feature appears to be sweetness. Just listen to the tender accents of Chiamo il mio ben così and to the delicate melancholy of Che faro senza Euridice? His smooth voice is stunning for its homogeneity, capable to express all sorts of feelings with elegance and uniformity. His diction is perfect and the words clearly pronounced. Jaroussky never forgets to stress or to colour a significant word, embellishing the music with a precious trait.
As for Amanda Forsythe as Euridice, she has self-assurance and energy, as she proves in Senza un addio… Ah, crudel! However, sometimes she is too hasty, especially when she sings high notes, but overall she is fine and it is a pleasure to listen to her.
Finally, Emőke Baráth is remarkable for the purity of her timbre, for her graceful and elegant phrasing and for the spirit with which she sings the role of Amore, especially in the aria Gli sguardi trattieni.