Jacob's conducting style is a guarantee of something new and unique

This azione teatrale in three acts, based on Ovid's Metamorphoses, was first seen at the Burgtheater in Vienna in 1762. When Gluck produced this new version of the fable of Orpheus nearly a century and a half after Monteverdi, he was in effect committing himself to reforming the conventions of opera. He focussed on the forcefulness, cohesion and wealth of the plot to create a work which broke with past forms and added an amazing profusion of luminously beautiful ballets and choruses.  

But aside from the beauty of Gluck's opera, this Liceu performance has an added attraction: the chance to hear it interpreted by René Jacobs at the head of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, which has long been at the pinnacle of period instrument ensembles. 

Jacobs, one of the greatest countertenors of all time, laid down the guidelines for singing the role of Orpheus. Now he approaches the work as a conductor, concentrating on the drama and underscoring the dynamics and universality of the score. His conducting style is a guarantee of subtle shading and theatricality, elegance and attention to detail, with the aim of offering something new and unique. 

While the theme is taken from one of the most attractive of myths, the action concentrates on Orpheus and Eurydice as a couple and the arias demand consummate sensibility and virtuosity.  

Gluck's opera, which blends grace with poetry, depicts Orpheus as he faces a hazardous decision, for to embark on the daunting and painful descent into hell to recover the woman he loves is nothing less than a leap into the void. “Che farò senza Euridice?” (What will I do without Eurydice?) 

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Orfeo ed Euridice
Azione teatrale per musica in three acts  
Libretto by Ranieri de’ Calzabigi
World premiere: 5/10/1762 at the Burgtheater in Vienna
Barcelona premiere: 4/11/1780 at the Teatre de la Santa Creu
Last Liceu performance: 29/4/2003 Total number of Liceu performances: 70  

  • Approximate running time 2h 10m
    • First part 50min
    • Interval 30min
    • Second part 50min

Artistic profile



Cast Change

  • Soprano Giulia Semenzato sings the part of Amore replacing Kateryna Kasper.

June 2023

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