Early Music Vancouver (EMV) presents the first unqualified masterpiece in operatic history, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, on October 29, 2017 at 3pm at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts. Often described as a “game changer” in the history of music, the work marks the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque. This classic myth of love and loss will come to life under GRAMMY award-winner and Monteverdi specialist, Stephen Stubbs, leading the singers and musicians of Seattle’s Pacific MusicWorks. This production will star Vancouver’s own internationally celebrated tenor Colin Balzer in the title role, and will also include San Francisco’s Dark Horse Consort, North America’s most respected 17th century wind ensemble.
“Since the day I began working with EMV, I have been looking forward to bringing this pivotal and seminal work back to Vancouver,”says Matthew White, Executive and Artistic Director of EMV. “Monteverdi’s Orfeo continues to have an unbelievably powerful effect on contemporary audiences. To my ears, its genius is undiminished by the passing of over 400 years. It feels as fresh and exciting today as it must have been to audiences in the 17th century. It is one my favourite works of all time.”
This tragic tale follows the Greek musician and demi-god, Orfeo (Orpheus in the original legend), who after losing his beloved Euridice to a snake bite, descends into Hades to use the power of music to convince the god of the underworld, Plutone, to return his beloved to life. Orfeo sings and plays so convincingly that Plutone agrees to grant his request, but on one condition - that he not look back when leading his love out of the darkness. Tragically, Orfeo, wracked by doubt and unable to control his own passion, glances back, condemning his beloved to an eternity in darkness, and Orfeo to a life without love. Returning to the light alone, Orfeo sings one of the most poignant and powerful laments in operatic history, ultimately reaching the ears of his father Apollo, the God of Music. Out of pity for his son, Apollo descends from the heavens to bring Orfeo comfort, thereby restoring balance to the world.
Though Orfeo is not technically the first opera, there is no doubt it is the first undisputed masterpiece in western operatic history. It balances tuneful music, dramatic word painting, rich orchestration of exotic instruments, and exquisite writing for vocal ensemble with a compelling narrative urgency, making it both entertaining and emotionally compelling.
Early Music Vancouver presents Monteverdi's Orfeo
Date: Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 3pm
(Pre-Concert Talk at 2:15pm with Matthew White, Ian Fenlon, and
Address: Chan Shun Concert Hall Chan Centre for the Performing Arts 6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Ticket Prices: From $18.00
Box Office: earlymusic.bc.ca or 604-822-2697