The centerpiece of the year’s Bloomington Early Music Festival is what’s justifiably called the "first great opera," Monteverdi’s "Orfeo." The opera tells the tale of the god-like musician Orpheo’s joyous love for Euridice and his sadness at her cruel death. Then, there’s his courageous journey to Hades with the music that charms the gruff boatman Caronte and even Pluto and Proserpina to retrieve her. Finally, there’s the all too human moment of weakness as Orpheo looks behind to be sure that Euridice is indeed following and in that moment he loses her.
In order to bring you this preview, I went to the final dress rehearsal of the BLEMF production.
Corey Jameson conducts the twenty-five piece orchestra and the dozen singer actors from the keyboard. Jonathan Michaelsen, Chair and Producer of IU’s Department of Theatre and Drama is the stage director and leads the production team with scenic design by Fred Duer, lighting by Rob Shakespeare, choreography by Mathew Buffalo and costumes by Katherine Garlick.
The BLEMF production of "Orfeo" is fully respectful both musically and dramatically of traditional style and yet makes creative use of the advanced resources and space of the Wells-Metz Theatre. This was the first time that I’d heard acoustic music of this complexity in the Well-Metz and happily, both the singers and the nicely balanced orchestra sounded remarkably crisp and full.
The BLEMF production of "Orfeo" brings together the resources of the IU Department of Theatre and Drama, the Jacobs School of Music and the arts community for a unique fusion of the arts served by a generosity of spirit
It’s a lively creative production that’s both musically and dramatically involving and satisfying
For Friday 5/18
Monteverdi’s "Orfeo" opens the Bloomington Early Music Festival with a performance this evening at eight in the Wells-Metz Theatre. There are additional performances in the evening on Friday the 25th and in the afternoon on Saturday the 26th.
For Tuesday 5/22
Monteverdi’s "Orfeo" plays this Friday at eight and Saturday at two. This evening’s Arts Works program on WFIU at seven-ten will focus on BLEMF with music from the ensembles and interviews with the guests.)
Tuesday the 22nd ‘s Arts Works program on WFIU at seven-ten will focus on BLEMF with music from the ensembles and interviews with the guests.