Charpentier: Orphée aux Enfers

Charpentier: Orphée aux Enfers

by Vox LuminisVox Luminis


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The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice has been a favorite subject in opera since the genre's Baroque beginnings with Jacopo Peri's "Euridice" and Claudio Monteverdi's "La favola d'Orfeo" and continued in later centuries with Christoph Willibald Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice," Jacques Offenbach's "Orphée aux enfers," Harrison Birtwistle's "The Mask of Orpheus," and Philip Glass' "Orphée," among many others. It is therefore unsurprising that the prolific French opera composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier tried his hand at this perennial story in two works: a cantata for three male singers and a small chamber ensemble, titled "Orphée descendant aux enfers," and the incomplete two-act lyric tragedy for a larger cast and a fuller orchestra, "La Descente d'Orphée aux enfers." Vox Luminis and A Nocte Temporis, under the direction of Reinoud Van Mechelen and Lionel Meunier, present scintillating performances on period instruments and in historically informed style, suggesting the bright sonorities and intimate ambiance of a 17th century court performance. Alpha recorded these performances in 2019 at the Keyhof Chapel in Huldenberg, Belgium, so the acoustics are fairly resonant, though the close microphone placement insures the closeness of the singers and the clear details in the ensemble's warm, enveloping sound.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/10/2020
Label: Alpha
UPC: 3760014195662
catalogNumber: 566
Rank: 46440


  1. Orphée descendant aux enfers, cantata for 3 voices, instruments & continuo, H. 471
  2. La descente d'Orphée aux Enfers, opera, H. 488

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