10 Jul 2009
Bright lights among the shades — The passion of Orpheus pervades a historic Aldeburgh Festival
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
Guy Dammann [The Times Literary Supplement, 10 July 2009]
Composers will keep revisiting the story of Orpheus: it demands operatic treatment if it is to be told properly. One must also bear in mind the rather flattering testimony the story pays to the composer’s art. By the time Gluck and Calzabigi composed what remains one of the best known operas on the subject in 1762, the number of operatic treatments stood at fifteen - and that figure not including numerous dramatic cantatas by, among others, Charpentier and Rameau. Many of the first experiments in musical theatre concerned themselves with Orpheus, although in 1600 both Jacopo Peri and Giulio Caccini titled their proto-operas Euridice, focusing less on the powers of the Thracian bard than on the figure whose loss inspired him to retune his lyre to immortal ears.