Haydn's Orpheus is an opera in Italian in four acts by Joseph Haydn, the last he ever wrote. The libretto, by Carlo Francesco Badini, is based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as told in Ovid's Metamorphoses.
The story of Orpheus has fascinated composers and librettists over the centuries. Pinchgut Opera presented Monteverdi's wonderful version of the story in 2004 (Orfeo) to wide acclaim. In 2010, we are delighted to present the first production of Haydn's version to Australian audiences.
Composed in 1791, the opera was never performed during Haydn's lifetime with its first performance, surprisingly, was in 1951 in Florence with a cast including Maria Callas and Boris Christoff. After Haydn’s patron Prince Nikolaus Esterházy died in 1790, he travelled to London where he received a commission to write several symphonies. The impresario John Gallini also offered him a contract to write an opera for the King's Theatre but due to a dispute between King George III and the Prince of Wales he was refused permission to stage it. As a result, the score was never completed and some music appears to be missing.
The 2010 Pinchgut production will be simply staged, with a set and costumes and emphasis on the music at the highest level. The cast is soprano Elena Xanthoudakis as the double part of Eurydice/Spirit, tenor Andrew Goodwin as Orpheus and baritone Derek Welton as Creon. The opera makes extensive use of the chorus (Cantillation), and Antony Walker will conduct a classical orchestra (Orchestra of the Antipodes) that includes Erin Helyard playing fortepiano.
(Pinchgut Live) PG001