While Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo is not the de facto first opera, in history and experience it has come to be just that. L’Orfeo is the first great, enduring opera, a model for how to shape drama through music, and with an individual voice that has been only infrequently equalled in the past 500 years, and never surpassed.
Friday evening at Carnegie Hall, conductor John Eliot Gardiner, the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir—masters of this repertoire—conclude Carnegie’s “Before Bach” series with a concert version of L’Orfeo. Tenor Krystian Adam will sing the title role, soprano Mariana Flores is his lost beloved, Eurydice (she also sings the allegorical role of Music), and bass Gianluca Buratto takes on the roles of Charon and Pluto. It’s a given that the playing and singing will be supremely stylish and, performed without intermission, expect gripping and dramatic music-making.
L’Orfeo takes place 8 p.m. Friday, May 1. carnegiehall.org