Founded in 2007,
the Yale Baroque Opera Project performed its fifteenth operatic production this past weekend at the University Theatre, to a filled house of enthusiastic Baroque fans of all ages.
ORFEO by Luigi Rossi was a new one for me, but certainly not my first time with the story of Orfeo and Eurydice, who were, let’s face it, the IT couple of the Baroque era. Gluck and Monteverdi were other composers of the period who had a crack at the story, and it is their settings with which most people are familiar. Luigi Rossi’s setting is a story within a story, and takes place on a ship. The story of Orfeo and Eurydice is being told by crew members to pass the time on their voyage from Tierra del Fuego toward Tahiti.
The program explains that the opera was cut by about a third, for which I am grateful. As it was, it lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes. While Rossi’s music is lovely, there is much recitative, and made me long for a show stopping aria or two. That said, the ensemble music, was exquisite. There was some lovely singing, especially from countertenor Jack Lindberg, and sopranos Sara Speller and Lisl Wangermann as Eurydice.
The small Baroque orchestra, consisting of harpsichords, recorders, theorbos, viols, violin, cello, and triple harp, was beautifully conducted by Grant Herreid, and Toni Dorfman’s did a wonderful job directing the actors.
Projection Designer, Camilla Tassi who is currently a research fellow in projection design at the Yale School of Drama, provided the superb projections that worked beautifully with Patrick Huber’s scenic designs and Solomon Weisbard’s broody lighting. Visually, this show was very impressive. And let me remind you that it was free!
It is truly astonishing how much great stuff in New Haven is free. Get out there and grab all the wonderful opportunities at Yale that come fast and furiously at the end of the school year. And it won’t be long until the Arts and Ideas Festival!!!!