After many years of loneliness and lamenting, the musician Orfeo can now sing songs of joy. Today he is marrying the love of his life; Euridice. But tragedy strikes and ruins not only a perfect day, but the rest of Orfeo’s life. Euridice is bitten by a venomous snake, and dies in moments. Orfeo’s heart is shattered. He vows to rescue her from the underworld, or to remain with her there forever. Armed only with his lyre and his beautiful voice, he ventures into the unknown.
The king of the underworld, Plutone, permits Euridice to return with Orfeo, but on one condition: he must not look back. Until they reach the land of the living, Orfeo must look ahead of him at all times, the slightest glance backwards and Euridice’s is lost forever.
This beautiful story of love and loss, that has been told many times, over many centuries, is made even more painful and tragic by Monterverdi’s elegant score.
L'Orfeo - Favola in Musica guide sections