Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice (CD) – Shirley Verrett, Anna Moffo

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Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice (CD) – Shirley Verrett, Anna Moffo

Composer: Christoph Willibald Gluck
Artists: Shirley Verrett, Anna Moffo, Judith Raskin, Polyphonic Chorus of Rome, I Virtuosi di Roma
Conductor: Renato Fasano
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Sony Classical
CD Release Date: January 10, 2018

In Rome in 1965, RCA produced a benchmark set of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, with an outstanding all-American cast led by Shirley Verrett as Orpheus and Renato Fasano conducting the Virtuosi di Roma. “This is undoubtedly the best performance and recording of the opera we have had,” wrote the Gramophone reviewer. Penguin Guide concurred: “If you have a mezzo as firm and sensitive as Shirley Verrett, then everything is in favor of your using the original Italian version. Fasano also uses the right-sized orchestra…and adopts an appropriately classical style. Anna Moffo and Judith Raskin match Verrett in clean, strong singing…. The recording is vivid and atmospheric.”


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Orfeo Ed Eurydice

Premiere: Court Theatre (Burgtheater), Vienna, 1762.

The myth of the musician Orpheus—who travels to the underworld to retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice—probes the deepest questions of desire, grief, and the power (and limits) of art. Gluck turned to this legend as the basis for a work as they were developing their ideas for a new kind of opera. Disillusioned with the inflexible forms of the genre as they existed at the time, the composer sought to reform the operatic stage with a visionary and seamless union of music, poetry, and dance.


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