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Discovering Opera via Timeline 3A - Jacopo Peri's "Euridice" (1600)

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Yes, it's been a while. I promise you I've really been still pursuing this project, but other things in my life have had the effect of slowing me down a bit.

It's been hard to get a handle on this piece, since DVDs are non-existent and live performances on You Tube are limited to one rather intriguing version of the Prologue.

On the one hand, you'd think there might be a video performance or two out there due to the simple fact that we are dealing here with the first extant (in complete form) opera.

On the other hand, I can understand the lack of enthusiasm for filming it because, judging by the score and the audio recordings available the whole thing seems rather static and formal.

It isn't so much that the Florentine Camerata's influence on the project tended to encourage a steady diet of a kind of endless recitative, because, in spite of that, there are a few (very few, in my opinion) melodic passages. The real problem for me is the pacing. Even the celebratory marriage music in the first part is somewhat staid in comparison to say, Monteverdi's handling in L'Orfeo. Nothing seems to get off the ground, and the lack of variety in pace tries the musical patience more than the relative lack of melody.

I listened to two versions of the music - one a not very well produced CD of a 1967 performance with women singing all the high parts, and the other a more recent studio version with the obligatory countertenors in their featured roles. The latter set is probably a bit more rewarding, though I wish I could have experienced the 1967 performance in more state-of-the-art sound.

To make a long story short - there isn't a whole lot to captivate in this opera. It's relatively tough going for a novice like me. My greatest "hit" from it would probably be the You Tube Prologue performance. As for the full-length performances - I can't see myself revisiting them eagerly.
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