Favola in musica in five acts
Music by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Libretto by Alessandro Striggio
Premiere: Mantua, Court Theatre, 24 February 1607
Premiere at the Monte-Carlo Opera
Production Associazione Grupporiani Carlo Colla & Figli, Comune di Milano – Teatro Convenzionato
Going back to the beginnings of the history of opera and having its most emblematic work performed for the first time on the stage of the Monte Carlo Opera must be realised in an unexpected way. Thanks to the two-hundred-year-old Milanese puppet company Carlo Colla & Figli, heir to the purest Italian tradition, L’Orfeo, created in 1607, will appear for the first time in Monte Carlo in a form that will appeal to the most demanding music lovers, as well as the youngest spectators. Gianluca Capuano conducts the Musiciens du Prince as well as a fine cast particularly well-versed in the arcanum of early music. Placed in the pit, they lend the string puppets their voices, whereas the action on stage evolves in an antique carousel of painted canvases, animated by an army of puppeteers, hidden in the half-light, with an incredible precision and delicacy. This way of presenting an opera is a true enchantment; it is takes us back to our childhood dreams and is capable of spellbinding a large audience.
LES MUSICIENS DU PRINCE – MONACO
Could you describe the significance of Les Musiciens du Prince – Monaco and your work with them?
For a conductor the opportunity to work regularly with a specific orchestra, moreover an orchestra where the players are hand-picked by ourselves and their number may be modified to suit the repertoire in question, is an absolute privilege. I have an instrument at hand which is utterly flexible and meets the highest standards when turning our esthetical principles into reality. I am proud to think that with Cecilia Bartoli and Les Musiciens du Prince we are adding an important chapter to the history of musical performance, especially with regard to Handel, Mozart, Gluck or Rossini.
Much work has already been done by baroque ensembles. Very few of them, however, work in such a systematic way and at such a high level in the field of 19th century opera, in particular Italian melodramma. There is still a great amount of apprehension about the use of period instruments in this repertoire. Yet, by using gut strings or period wind instruments the singing becomes marvellously intelligible, the words find a perfect correspondence in the articulation of the instruments, the stage and the pit enter into a dialogue rather than rivalry.
With our new Monteverdiproduction you venture into the 17th century for the first time?
In 2023, we will play the piece which marks the point of origin of the entire history of opera: Monteverdi’s Orfeo. Actually, I passed my entire “first life” studying and performing Italian 17th century music, so nothing new for myself. But I am most delighted to collaborate with the Colla string-puppet company again and to involve Les Musiciens du Prince in this project. I am eagerly looking forward to the moment when I may share my insights regarding Monterverdi’s music with them.
How and when did you meet Cecilia Bartoli?
Meeting Cecilia Bartoli was a watershed in my career. First, I worked with her as a continuo player and choir master, and from 2016 as conductor for all her projects. To learn from an artist of this calibre, but also to develop projects together is absolutely unique. We share a passion for musicological research and for music theatre, and the great energy which goes into everything we do.
A thought about Cecilia’s new function as a theatre director?
It will leave its mark on time.