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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Opera Preview: Telemann's Orpheus

The City Opera presents a long-lost baroque masterpiece.
by Paul Pelkonen
Don't look back: Orpheus and Eurydice escape from Hades.
There's a reason that you've never heard of Die wunderbare Beständigkeit der Liebe oder Orpheus, (Orpheus for short) Georg Philipp Telemann's operatic retelling of the Greek myth of the master musician and his quest to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the clutches of the underworld.

Then the score was lost.

A complete edition of the opera was found by musicologists in 1978. It reveals Telemann's creation to be one of the first important German operas (although parts of the libretto are also in French and Italian), a vibrant music drama that does not rely on the typical baroque da capo arias found in the operas of Handel and Vivaldi. These four performances by New York City Opera under the baton of Gary Thor Wedow mark the opera's U.S. premiere.

As the City Opera abandoned its Lincoln Center digs last year, the company has been on the road for all of its 2012 season. Following stints at BAM and the Lynch Theater, these shows find them moving to the Upper East Side, specifically to the gorgeous 599-seat Teatro del Museo del Barrio, located at E. 105th and Fifth Avenue at the northeast corner of Central Park.

Recording Recommendation:
Need to whet your appetite for Orpheus? The opera has been recorded twice. The first features the Akademie der Alte Musik from Berlin, conducted by the reliable period performance maverick René Jacobs The set features soprano Dorothea Röschmann.

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