Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Orphée

St. Thomas Aquinas, Palo Alto 10.14.11 7:30PM
St. Mark's Episcopal, Berkeley 10.15.11 7:30PM
St. Mark's Lutheran, San Francisco 10.16.11 4:00PM

Laura Heimes, soprano
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano
Clara Rottsolk, soprano
Andrew Rader, countertenor
Aaron Sheehan, tenor
Daniel Hutchings, tenor
Robert Stafford, bass
Peter Becker, bass
Vicki Boeckman, recorder
Louise Carslake, recorder
David Wilson, violin
Aaron Westman, violin
John Dornenburg, viola da gamba
Julie Jeffrey, viola da gamba
Lynn Tetenbaum, viola da gamba
Jillon Stoppels Dupree, harpsichord

Magnificat’s 20th season opened with Charpentier’s emotionally-charged setting of the Orpheus myth, La Descente d’Orphée aux enfers. Composed in 1686 for one of the musical evenings at the Hôtel de Guise, Orphée is a dramatic work that defies classification, being neither pastoral, nor cantata, nor opera, yet having some characteristics of each. A unique and especially beautiful feature of this work is Charpentier’s use of the viols to accompany Orpheus’ plaint to Pluto and Persephone, the low sonorities expressing Orpheus’ despair as well as the underworld setting.

San Francisco Classical Voice Review: Magnificat – Ascent to Perfection

Read More about Charpentier’s Orphée

Read about the Orpheus myth in French music before Charpentier

Background image from François Perrier, Orphée devant Pluton et Proserpine, around 1647 – 1650, Musée du Louvre, Paris.