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Monteverdi: L'Orfeo Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, February 15, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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This recording of Monteverdi's retelling of the Orpheus legend may not be as fine overall as John Eliot Gardiner's, but it has much to recommend it. Nigel Rogers was the first great modern Monteverdi tenor: he made this record after his prime (he no longer has the beautiful sound one wants from an Orfeo), but his virtuoso passage-work and stylish ornaments should be required listening for every student of the role. The cast, chorus, and orchestra give solid, if occasionally reserved, performances (though Guillemette Laurens is a shrill Messenger). The best singing of the entire record is (perhaps unfortunately) at the beginning: Emma Kirkby's sweet voice, imaginative embellishment, and eloquent delivery as Music result in absolutely the best rendition of the Prologue on record. --Matthew Westphal

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. L'Orfeo, favola in musica: ToccataLondon Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle 1:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Prologo: Ritornello: Dal moi Permesso amato a voi ne vengo (Orchestra/La Musica)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Dame Emma Kirkby 5:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 1: In questo lieto (Pastore)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Mario Bolognesi/Rogers Covey-Crump/John Potter/Stephen Varcoe 1:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 1: Vieni Imeneo deh vieni...Muse, honor di Parnasso (Coro/Ninfa)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers/Helena Afonso 1:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 1: Lasciate i monti...Ma tu gentil (Coro/Pastore)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers/Mario Bolognesi/Rogers Covey-Crump/John Potter/Stephen Varcoe 2:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 1: Rosa del ciel...Io non dirò (Orfeo/Euridice)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers/Patrizia Kwella 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 1: Lasciate i monti (Coro)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers0:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 1: Vieni Imeneo (Coro)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers0:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 1: Ma s'il nostro gioir (Pastore)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Mario Bolognesi/Rogers Covey-Crump/John Potter/Stephen Varcoe 1:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 1: Alcun no sia (Pastori I, III)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Mario Bolognesi/John Potter 1:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 1: Che poi che nembo (Ninfa/Pastori II, IV)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Helena Afonso/Rogers Covey-Crump/Stephen Varcoe 1:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 1: E dopo l'aspro (Pastore/Coro)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers/Mario Bolognesi/Rogers Covey-Crump/John Potter/Stephen Varcoe 1:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 2: Sinfonia: Ecco pur ch'a voi ritorno (Orchestra/Orfeo/Pastori I, III/Coro)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers/Mario Bolognesi/John Potter 5:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 2: Mira, deh mira (Messagiera/Pastori II, III/Orfeo)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers/Guillemette Laurens/Rogers Covey-Crump/John Potter 7:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 2: Tu sei morta (Orfeo)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 2: Ahi, caso acerbo! (Coro)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 2: Chi ne consola, ahi lassi? (Pastori I, III)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Mario Bolognesi/John Potter 1:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 2: Ahi, caso acerbo! (Coro/Pastori I, III)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers/Mario Bolognesi/John Potter 3:25$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 3: SinfoniaLondon Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle 1:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 3: Scorto da te, moi nume (Orfeo)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers 1:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 3: Ecco l'altra palude (Speranza)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Catherine Denley 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 3: Dove, ah, dove ten vai (Orfeo)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers0:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 3: O tu ch'innanzi ... Sinfonia (Caronte/Orchestra)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/David Thomas 2:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 3: Possenti spirto (Orfeo)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers 5:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 3: Orfeo son io (Orfeo)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 3: Ben mi lusinga alquanto ...Sinfonia (Caronte/Orfeo/Orchestra)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers/David Thomas 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 3: Ei dorme, e la mia cetra (Orfeo)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers 1:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 3: Sinfonia a 7 ...Nulla impressa (Orchestra/Coro)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 4: Signor quel infelice (Proserpina)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Jennifer Smith/Stephen Varcoe 2:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 4: Benchè severo (Plutone)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Stephen Varcoe 1:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 4: O, degli habitor (Spiriti)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Terry Edwards/Geoffrey Shaw/Stephen Varcoe 1:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 4: Quali grazie ti rendo (Proserpina/Plutone)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Stephen Varcoe/Jennifer Smith 1:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 4: Pietade, oggi e amore (Coro/Spirito)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers/Terry Edwards/Geoffrey Shaw/Stephen Varcoe0:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 4: Ritornello ... Qual honor di te fia degno (Orchestra/Orfeo/Spirito III)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers/Terry Edwards/Stephen Varcoe 3:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 4: Ahi vista troppo dolce (Euridice/Spirito IV)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Patrizia Kwella/Geoffrey Shaw/Stephen Varcoe 2:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 4: Sinfonia ... É la virtute ...Sinfonia a 7 (Orchestra/Coro)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers/Stephen Varcoe 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 5: Ritornello ... Questi i campi di Tracia (Orchestyra/Orfeo/Eco)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers 4:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 5: Ma tu anima mia (Orfeo)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 5: Sinfonia ...Perch'a lo sdegno (Orchestra/Apollo/Orfeo)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Nigel Rogers/Mario Bolognesi 5:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 5: Ritornello ... Vanne Orfeo (Orchestra/Coro)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle/Chiaroscuro/Nigel Rogers 1:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen23. L'Orfeo, favola in musica, Act 5: Moresca (Orchestra)London Baroque/Charles Medlam/London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble/Theresa Caudle 1:01$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Emma Kirkby, Jennifer Smith, Patrizia Kwella, Helena Alfonso
  • Orchestra: Chiaroscuro, London Baroque, London Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble
  • Conductor: Charles Medlam, Nigel Rogers
  • Composer: Claudio Monteverdi
  • Audio CD (February 15, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000002S5F
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,280 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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See all 5 customer reviews
I love the tempi here-- no dragging-- dance always hovering nearby.
Caterina Sforza
Monteverdi is one of the great geniuses in all musical history and is the first great composer of opera and this is his first opera.
Craig Matteson
In total, this is a magnificent recording, and one that is a treasure in any CD collection.
FrKurt Messick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 5, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This was the first great operatic work. It would have been performed in an intimate setting and that shows from the very beginning with the fanfare calling for the attention of the audience and the prologue transitioning the audience into the work. Certainly, that is a classic method of beginning a drama and was done all the time back then, but the reason they did it so much was because of the manner and place in which it was performed.
There is so much to love in this recording and much of it has to do with Nigel Rogers. I love his voice and manner of singing. Some have problems with it, but I can't imagine a better "Vi ricord, o boschi amorosi". If you know of one, please email me.
And I also worship at the altar of Emma Kirkby ever since I heard her live in Ann Arbor in 1980 (I was in the chorus and she was the soprano soloist in a revolutionary performance of "Messiah" that totaled about 50 performers including the orchestra).
If you love ALL of opera I don't know why you wouldn't want this in your collection. Monteverdi is one of the great geniuses in all musical history and is the first great composer of opera and this is his first opera.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Caterina Sforza on January 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This recording is overshadowed by Gardiner's, which soon followed; but while both are near-perfect, my heart just favors certain quirks of this one. Rogers's Orfeo is as virtuosic, assured and vulnerable as it can possibly be, and the rough patches in his voice do not in any way impair the musicality or beauty of his interpretation-- they enhance it, if anything, making a highly personal statement. I love the tempi here-- no dragging-- dance always hovering nearby. The ritornello and chorus of the spirits as Orfeo crosses to Hades are not lugubrious, but rather matter-of-fact, even jaunty. These spirits are interested observers-- but quite rightly, not emotionally overcome, as the lamenting nymphs and shepherds of Act II.
The playing and singing are splendid and expressive. The cast as accomplished and seasoned as Gardiner's, with such stalwarts as Covey-Crump, Thomas and Varcoe in prominent roles. I especially love little acoustic details, such as the receding sound of Orfeo's and Apollo's duet, as Orfeo is borne up to Olympus. Last but certainly not least, probably the best available rendering of "Possente Spirto" anywhere.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mark Singer on April 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's true that Roger's voice is close to being raw in some places, but I don't think that detracts in any way. There is much to recommend here, not the least being the very immediate sound of the recording and the broad dynamic range. It is easy to imagine this being sung in a small theater by a group of people who were not quite sure what they were making. Stephen Varcoe's Plutone is wonderfully rough, and another stand-out. I don't like opera as a rule, and I love this.

[Added 2/18/2002: I'm sorry to see "limited availability" on this CD; get it while you can! One thing I didn't mention - the few times I have played this for other people, slipping it on during conversation, they typically stop talking as soon as Emma Kirkby begins singing the Prologue (is that what it's called? I've lost the booklet...), listen intently for a minute or so, and then say, "This is *beautiful*! What is it?" The only reply that fits is, "Perfect."]
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This work by Monteverdi is often considered the first opera. As a composer, Monteverdi is a bridge between the Renaissance and Baroque periods. His music represents definite developments beyond the more typical constraints of Renaissance polyphony and sacred composition, and anticipates some of the types of orchestration and composition that will come to fulfillment in the Baroque period. He was a prolific composer of secular pieces, including this of the earliest operas, L'Orfeo.

This piece demonstrates the kind of grand orchestration for which Monteverdi is noted. The performers on this piece include The London Baroque (a group of twelve musicians), directed by Charles Medlam; the London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble (a group of nine musicians), directed by Theresa Caudle; and Chiaroscuro (not the type of lighting, but rather a vocal ensemble formed in 1979 dedicated to the performance of Italian music) under the direction of Nigel Rogers.

This piece was largely overlooked through the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods, being revived again in the early twentieth century as a somewhat regularly performed piece. The subject matter is well known (there are other musical works, literary works and art works based on the same subject) - Orpheus, who attempts to rescue his lover Eurydice from the underworld. Orpheus is a musician of such power that his music can sway the gods.

In the first act, Orfeo and Eurydice celebrate their marriage. In the second act, Orfeo receives word that Eurydice has died, and resolves to rescue her from the underworld. In the third act, a personified Hope follows Orfeo to the entrance of the underworld; Orfeo's music enchanted Charon, who falls asleep so Oreo can pass.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Trtek on January 25, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Although Gardiner's version of Orfeo appears to "overshadow" this rendition in the view of some, I frankly consider it inferior right from the opening, which in Gardiner's version is is both too formal and too fast compared to the broader and yet more intimate-feeling start to the proceedings on this set. That sense of intimacy, not really matched by the Gardiner peformance, extends to this entire version, making it for me the more desirable option. The Gardiner rendition is what it is, and that's a very good performance of Orfeo. I just think this one shines more warmly and losing none of the grandeur.
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Monteverdi: L'Orfeo
This item: Monteverdi: L'Orfeo
Price: $21.59
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