Orfeo ed Euridice

Pre-classical opera


Orfeo ed Euridice (French version: Orphée et Eurydice; English: Orpheus and Eurydice) is an opera composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck based on the myth of Orpheus, set to a libretto by Ranieri de' Calzabigi. It belongs to the genre of the azione teatrale, meaning an opera on a mythological subject with choruses and dancing. The piece was first performed at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 5 October 1762 in the presence of Empress Maria Theresa. Orfeo ed Euridice is the first of Gluck's "reform" operas, in which he attempted to replace the abstruse plots and overly complex music of opera seria with a "noble simplicity" in both the music and the drama.

The opera is the most popular of Gluck's works, and one of the most influential on subsequent German opera. Variations on its plot – the underground rescue-mission in which the hero must control, or conceal, his emotions – include Mozart's The Magic Flute, Beethoven's Fidelio and Wagner's Das Rheingold.

Though originally set to an Italian libretto, Orfeo ed Euridice owes much to the genre of French opera, particularly in its use of accompanied recitative and a general absence of vocal virtuosity. Indeed, twelve years after the 1762 premiere, Gluck re-adapted the opera to suit the tastes of a Parisian audience at the Académie Royale de Musique with a libretto by Pierre-Louis Moline. This reworking was given the title Orphée et Eurydice, and several alterations were made in vocal casting and orchestration to suit French tastes.

Year 1762
Opening Night 1762
Time Period Pre-classical
Opus Wq. 30
Instrumentation Continuo, Opera orchestra, Opera chorus


"Melodie" from Orpheus and Euridice
Cimarron Music Press 1762
Winter, et al.
Dance of the Blessed Spirits ( Melodie), Bassoon Solo
Cimarron Music Press 1762
Winter, et al.
Dance of the Blessed Spirits, from "Orpheus & Euridice"
Cimarron Music Press 1762
Winter, et al.
Chiamo il mio ben
Harvard University Press 1762
Orfeo ed Euridice
Akademische Druckund Verlagsantalt, Österreichischer Bundesverlag 1762
Adler, et al.
Orphee et Euridice
Universal Edition 1762
Braun, et al.


Melody from Orfeo ed Euridice (arr. Giovanni Sgambati)
The Gewandhaus Orchestra and Music Director Riccardo Chailly have acquired legendary status. Acclaimed concert tours ...
Orfeo ed Euridice
Harry Kupfer's version of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, originally conceived for the Berlin Komische Oper ...
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