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Gluck - Orfeo ed Euridice / Baker, Speiser, Gale, Leppard, Glyndebourne Opera

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In this story, a grieving musician from Greek mythology follows his beloved wife to the depths of Hades in an attempt to bring her back from dead. Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Elisabeth Speiser, Janet Baker, Elizabeth Gale, Glyndebourne Festival Opera Orchestra
  • Directors: Raymond Leppard
  • Writers: Christoph Gluck
  • Producers: Peter Hall
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000294T3I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,863 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gluck - Orfeo ed Euridice / Baker, Speiser, Gale, Leppard, Glyndebourne Opera" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the opera adaptation of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, as described by Ovid in the Metamorphoses. Preceded by Moteverdi's La Favola di Orfeo and by several other reinterpretations of the same myth, Orfeo ed Euridice by Christoph Willibald Gluck is considered by some as the first opera in the modern sense. It is the oldest opera in the standard repertoire, its first performance dating back to 1762.
The story - although lacking many of the original details - is reasonably accurate. Having lost his wife Eurydice to a snake bite, Orpheus is allowed by the gods to descend into Hades and bring her back. As in many life situations (in this case, "beyond life situations"), there is a condition for the mission to be completed successfully: he should never look directly at his wife until they are back into the world of the living. Unfortunately Orpheus does look at her and this is where the Greek myth and the opera diverge. Orpheus loses his wife forever, in the myth. He is allowed to go on living with her, in the opera. In fact, the final scene, set in the temple of Amore, consists of solos, choruses and dances in praise of love and of the couple whose love was sufficiently strong to defeat all obstacles, including death.
This particular interpretation of our opera - which incidentally only includes three main characters - was filmed in 1982 as part of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera performances. It is sung in Italian - by mezzo soprano Janet Baker (Orfeo), soprano Elisabeth Speiser (Euridice) and soprano Elisabeth Gale (Amore) - with the accompaniment of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus - which also performs the ballet segments. Optional subtitles are available in English, Spanish, French and German.
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Janet Baker has the most luscious voice I have heard. It is here. Moving, touching, the sound of devotion and love. Please, please -- do I sound like an aria -- buy this, you will love it. If you can find her recording of the Brahms Alto Rhapsody get it! I admit there is something to what Mr.Weaver says. But get it nonetheless. So many things get dated in one way or the other don't they? And almost everything has its filler for fun. Blame the French for that. Gluck was making a living as well as a masterpiece. Baker is wonderful. That's what it is about.
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Peter Hall's 1982 production of Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice" at Glyndebourne was Dame Janet Baker's last appearance on the operatic stage. Read her autobiography, "Full Circle" for a touching description of what this production meant to her. Glyndebourne was also the stage where she first appeared in an opera--as Rosa in Smetana's "The Secret." I believe this role as Orfeo to be one of her most moving portrayals, and her two soprano colleagues, Elisabeth Speiser as Euridice and Elizabeth Gale as Amore lend beautiful musical support.

Gluck's music is absolutely ravishing. After Orfeo's confrontation with the Furies, the scene with Euridice and the Blessed Spirits plays so tranquilly on the senses, it makes me wish for an Elysian Field in my own life. Alas, it is only a musical interval before Orfeo attempts to lead Euridice back to the Outer World and back to life. When he is finally forced to turn and look at his wife and she returns to death, his lament,"Che Faro Senza Euridice" is the saddest aria in all of opera. I broke down and cried the first time I heard Janet Baker singing it in this production. If my husband should happen to die before me, I'll never be able to listen to this operatic DVD again.

The final deus ex machina is a definite anti-climax, but perhaps it was necessary for eighteenth century audiences to paper over the raw wound of Euridice's second death with a falsely happy ending. I also own the made-for-TV film of "
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By Opera Fan on January 30, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
It seems to me that the only filmed "Orfeo" anyone ever talks about is the one from Covent Garden with the modern setting, while this one is all but ignored. I don't see why. This is a wonderful performance. Dame Janet Baker's acting is near perfect. The last time I watched this video, I was completely blown away.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Celebrate the composer's 300th birthday with this Janet Baker Orfeo from Glyndebourne, by far the finest and most traditionally-staged of all of Gluck's operas currently on DVD. And if you consider the state of opera DVDs in the world today, with their updated settings, trench coats etc ... it's absolutely amazing this was even recorded at all. Sure, it is one of the pivotal compositions in music history, but that's no guarantee it would be popular today. It's not loud and flashy like Tosca, or fast and witty like Marriage of Figaro. It's just simple, tender, and beautiful. It's amazing we have it recorded, and even more amazing in a traditional production. I recommend it most highly.
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Gluck - Orfeo ed Euridice / Baker, Speiser, Gale, Leppard, Glyndebourne Opera
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