Wednesday, 16 May 2007


Orphée devant Pluton et Proserpine
François Perrier (1590 - 1650)

Quels chants doux et touchants
Quels accords ravissants!
De si tendres accents
Ont su nous désarmer
Et nous charmer.
Qu'il descende aux enfers!
Les chemins sont ouverts.
Tout cède à la douceur
De son art enchanteur,
Il est vainqueur.

Act II, Scene 1, Orphée et Eurydice, Christoph Willibald Gluck

For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews,
Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones,
Make tigers tame, and huge leviathans
Forsake unsounded deeps to dance on sands.
Act III, Scene 2, Two Gentlemen of Verona, William Shakespeare

"Orpheus, the mythic musician of Thrace, who charmed men, gods, savage beasts, the very rocks with his song, was the quintessential operatic hero. His story was an explicit demonstration of the power of music, an operatic archetype. Orpheus, most celebrated of mythological musicians, specifically harnessed the rhetorical powers of music for dramatic ends, to persuade the god of the Underworld to release Eurydice from the bonds of death..."
Ellen Rosand, Opera in Seventeenth-Century Venice: The Creation of a Genre

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