Christoph Willibald Gluck is one of the great reformers of opera, departing from the tried and tested genres of opera seria in the 18th century: Metastasio's drama per musica and Rameau's tragédie lyrique. Gluck sought to restore dramatic truth to musical theatre, dispensing with long, virtuosic arias simply written to play to performers' vanity, and providing a greater musical and dramatic coherence to his operas. His focus on clarity, simplicity and the return to nature is perfectly exemplified in his great work, Orfeo ed Euridice, the first of his 'reform' operas. The work owes much to the style of French opera, with its accompanied recitative and simple vocal lines.
This historic recording from 1966 features a young Grace Bumbry, who was recognised at the Kennedy Centre Honours in 2009 as a defining figure in American arts and culture. Also featuring internationally renowned conductor Václav Neumann, the recording is an acclaimed interpretation of one of Gluck's best-loved works.
- Includes plot synopsis and liner notes on the composer and work.