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Monteverdi's Orfeo, 1607-2007

Claudio Monteverdi, Orfeo, premiered in 1607Claudio Monteverdi's genre-setting opera Orfeo first saw the light of day 400 years ago in 2007. The rush among international opera companies to stage this opera this season (and probably next, too), certainly not a natural favorite with mainstream audiences, indicates the growing awareness of Monteverdi's contribution to the history of opera. First -- chronologically and perhaps also in interest -- René Jacobs' Concerto Vocale will team up with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin for a staged production at the Berliner Staatsoper (January 30 to February 5). Barrie Kosky will direct Sunhae Im (Euridice and La Musica) and Stéphane Degout (Orfeo). They will give the same production at the newly renovated Theater an der Wien in Vienna (on February 25 only). René Jacobs and Concerto Vocale, apparently without Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, will perform the opera again this summer. The Aix-en-Provence Festival will produce Orfeo, directed by Trisha Brown, in the Théâtre de l’Archevêché (July 6 to 15).

On our side of the Atlantic, Glimmerglass Opera is staging only operas that set the Orpheus legend this summer, to honor the beginning of the genre. This includes a new production of Orfeo, conducted by Antony Walker and directed by Christopher Alden. Michael Slattery (who has the smaller role of Apollo in the Berlin production) will sing Orfeo, and Megan Monaghan will sing Euridice. Other productions this summer include one at the Drottningholms Slottsteater in Sweden (July 28 to August 11) and another at the Staatstheater Hannover (June 13 to July 12).

That is not all. The New London Consort will give a concert performance of Orfeo in London's Royal Festival Hall on March 14. Operabase lists several other performances.

Other than Orfeo, there are other Monteverdi performances, including the Vespers of 1610 and Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda with Concerto Vocale and René Jacobs at the Berliner Staatsoper (January 21 to February 3). Il Ritorno d'Ulisse is also popular, with a staged production at De Munt/Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels (May 12 to 15) and, even better, a concert performance conducted by Christophe Rousset at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse (June 8). Also, in the Washington area, Opera Vivente will be producing this opera in Baltimore, March 9 to 17.

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