“Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo is not only one of the most beautiful operas ever written but it relates very strongly to the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza. The theatre was built in 1585, a few years before L’Orfeo has first been performed in Mantova. It is the perfect opera for the perfect theatre.

But there is an important aspect: I am fascinated by the finale. Originally (in the libretto and in the classic Greek-Roman sources) Orpheus returns from the underworld and is killed by mad, ecstatic women who are angry with him. Why? Because Orpheus denounces women — he never wants to fall in love again after having lost his “perfect” Euridice twice. The insulted mad women (followers of Dionysus who perform a wild bacchanalia) tear him to pieces.

Usually this opera is performed with a revised ending composed by Monteverdi a few years after the first performance. Here, there is no bacchanalia but Apollo appears from heaven and elevates Orpheus to the skies. We end with a happy end, with a conventional finale.

I am obsessed by performing L’Orfeo with the bacchanalia. I will compose the missing music in style of Monteverdi. It will be a word premiere of the original concept 500 years after it has been written!”

Iván Fischer, Artistic Director