L'Orfeo, Favola in musica in un prologo e cinque atti (2009)

Not Rated | | Drama, Musical | Video 10 June 2009
The Mantua Orfeo is the culmination of a long process that saw the gradual acceptance of pastoral fables, comedies, and tragedies in imitation of classical models, offering special musical ... See full summary »


Matteo Ricchetti


Alessandro Striggio (libretto)

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Credited cast:
Dietrich Henschel Dietrich Henschel ... Orfeo
Maria Grazia Schiavo Maria Grazia Schiavo ... Euridice / Proserpina / La Musica
Sonia Prina Sonia Prina ... La Messaggera
Luigi De Donato Luigi De Donato ... Caronte
Antonio Abete Antonio Abete ... Plutone
Agustín Prunell-Friend Agustín Prunell-Friend ... Apollo
Hanna Bayodi Hanna Bayodi ... Ninfa (as Hanna Bayodi-Hirt)
Xavier Sabata Xavier Sabata ... Primo Pastore
Cyril Auvity Cyril Auvity ... Secondo Pastore / Primo Spirito infernale
Jonathan Sells Jonathan Sells ... Quarto Pastore - Terzo Spirito infernale
Les Arts Florissants Les Arts Florissants ... Coro e Orchestra
Les Sacqueboutiers de Toulouse Les Sacqueboutiers de Toulouse ... Con la collaborazione di
William Christie William Christie ... Direttore
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sebi Alcaraz Sebi Alcaraz ... Figuranti (as Sebi Bastida)
Arturo Bernal Arturo Bernal ... Figuranti


The Mantua Orfeo is the culmination of a long process that saw the gradual acceptance of pastoral fables, comedies, and tragedies in imitation of classical models, offering special musical elements to delight the listener. The novelty lay not only in the type of drama involved, but also in the manner of song, which favoured the accompanied monody. Solo voice singing, so extolled and theorized within the intense conceptual debates of Giovanni Bardi's Florentine academy, likely derives from a yearning for classicism, and for a recovery of Greek theatre - but is made contemporary through the principle of the comprehensibility of speech, which had many advocates. The "Tale of Orpheus" was written as a musical opera; the libretto by Alessandro Striggio assumes a knowledge of Rinuccini's tale. Whether openly or in more concealed fashion, Monteverdi makes use of topoi or practices in common use during his day: trumpet flourishes as signals, a narrative in dactylic rhythm, and dissonant ...

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Drama | Musical


Not Rated



Italy | Spain



Release Date:

10 June 2009 (Italy) See more »

Filming Locations:

Madrid, Spain

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

One of the best 'L'Orfeos' on DVD
6 July 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

My personal favourite 'L'Orfeo' (also my favourite of Monteverdi's opera, though this reviewer also loves 'L'Incoronazione Di Poppea' and 'Il Rittorno Ulisse in Patria') is the Jean Pierre Ponnelle film, but this is my pick for second best.

Visually, it is hard to resist the wonderfully elaborate costumes, beautiful palace setting, atmospheric lighting of the first half, and once things becomes more tragic the darker, more sparse and more symbolic look is appropriate and striking. Video directing allows one to see all the action and also be moved by the more intimate parts of the opera.

Pier Luigi Pizzi's staging is some of his most intelligent and poignant, never falling into distaste or dullness and doesn't make the mistake of being potentially static. It actually respects the opera and is true to the spirit of the mood, even when more symbolic when it gets more tragic. Loved the use of dancers too.

Musically, there is much nuance, refinement and pathos in the orchestral playing, and William Christie conducts with a nimbleness and a feel for letting the music breathe but keeping the drama alive.

Dietrich Henschel is a very moving and emotionally heartfelt Orfeo, particularly shining in the persuasion scene with Plutone. Also outstanding is Maria Grazia Schiavo in three roles, faring the strongest as La Musica. Sonia Prina is highly musical and expressive, and Antonio Abete is a commanding Plutone. The weak link is the Caronte of Luigi Di Donato, he is spot on in interpretation providing much elegance and nuance, but vocally he is somewhat too lightweight. This said, this is not enough to spoil the production.

Overall, brilliant and one of the best productions of 'L'Orfeo', second best in fact after Ponnelle's. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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