LA NUOVA EURIDICE
FRANZ LISZT - IGOR STRAVINSKY - SALVATORE SCIARRINO
The myth of the semi-divine singer Orpheus bringing back his beloved Eurydice from the realm of the dead has inspired countless composers since the opera began – from Peri and Monteverdi to Gluck and Offenbach to contemporary voices such as Harrison Birtwistle and Salvatore Sciarrino.
In Sciarrino's La nuova Euridice secondo Rilke (2015) for soprano and orchestra we consider the celebrated story resolutely from Eurydice's point of view. The Italian composer based himself on the iconic poem Orpheus. Eurydike. Hermes by Rainer Maria Rilke in which Orpheus' lover leaves the underworld, between the 'soul guide' Hermes and Orpheus.
But the resurrected Eurydice is but a shadow of the former lover, and Orpheus' magical arts are finally played out. Eurydice no longer belongs to Orpheus. The dramatically intense evocation of Sciarrino's monodrama, full of fascinating orchestral and vocal colours, throws a surprising light on the ancient myth and on the dramatic storytelling art of the early operas.
Also Franz Liszt's symphonic poem Orpheus and Igor Stravinsky's ballet Orpheus immerse us in lesser-known music around the mythic couple. Stravinsky's precise, neoclassical ballet was created in close collaboration with choreographer George Balanchine. Liszt's orchestral work was intended as an alternative version of the overture to Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, which the composer found too festive and unsuitable for the tragic story. Camille Saint-Saëns praised the pastoral tone of Liszt's work, 'woven with sunlight and the twinkling of stars'.