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Bibliographies


Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Primary Sources

Much of the material on mystery religions has already been examined, especially in Chapters 9, 13, 14, and 15.
Hdt. 2.80.1-2.90.1: Peripheral discussion of Egyptian ceremonies of the dead with Greek comparisons.
Ov.
Paus. 6.20.18: Orpheus and Amphion of Thebes; see also Chapter 15, M/L.
9.25.5-9.25.10: The Theban account of the origin of the ritual in honor of the Cabiri and Demeter.
9.30.4-9.30.12: Orpheus.
10.30.6-10.30.7: Orpheus.
10.32.13-10.32.18: Isis.
Strab. 10.3.1-10.3.23: A lengthy discussion of the Curetes and various mystery religions.
Verg. G. 4.315-566: The story of Aristaeus and his bees.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Secondary Sources

Literature

Anouilh, Jean (1910–1987). Eurydice. Play.

Barfield, Owen. Orpheus: A Poetic Drama. SteinerBooks, 1983. Written in the 1930s by this British philosopher and critic at the suggestion of C.S. Lewis and resurrected  by John Ulriech, Jr. who writes an informative, laudatory introduction.

Cocteau, Jean (1889–1963). Orphée. Play.

Dobyns, Stephen. “Orpheus.” Velocities: New and Selected Poems 1966–1992. New York: Viking/Penguin, 1994, 219–220.

Glück, Louise. “Relic.” Vita Nova. New York:  Ecco Press, 1999, 36.

———. “Orfeo.” Vita Nova. New York:  Ecco Press, 1999, 18.

———. “Eurydice.” Vita Nova. New York:  Ecco Press, 1999, 26.

———. “Lute Song.” Vita Nova. New York:  Ecco Press, 1999, 17.

Rilke, Rainer Maria (1875–1926). “Orpheus, Eurydike, Hermes.” Poem.

Rushdie, Salman. The Ground Beneath Her Feet. New York: Henry Holt, 1999. A novel based on the theme of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Williams, Tennessee (1914–1983). Orpheus Descending. Play.

Scholarship

Orpheus

Alderink, Larry J. Creation and Salvation in Ancient Orphism. Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1981.

Athanassakis, Apostolos N. The Orphic Hymns. Text, translation, and notes. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1977.

Bernstock, Judith E. Under the Spell of Orpheus: The Persistence of a Myth in Twentieth-Century Art. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991.

Detienne, Marcel. The Writing of Orpheus: Greek Myth in Cultural Context. Translated by Janet Lloyd. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. A study of the far-reaching influence of the Orphic myth.

Eliade, Mircea. Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Translated by Willard Trask. Studies of the religious life of shamans in cultures around the world.  Princeton University Press,1964.

Friedman, John Block. Orpheus in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970.

Guthrie, W. K. C. Orpheus and Greek Religion: A Study of the Orphic Movement. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.

Nevill, Drury, The Shaman’s Quest: Journeys in an Ancient Spiritual Practice. Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2002. The spiritual journeys of four shamans in  Australia, Japan, and South America, through their first calling, initiation, and training and culminating in their roles as leaders and healers. Nevill has written extensively about the various aspects of shamanism including The Shaman and the Magician: Journeys between the Worlds. New York: Penguin (Arkana), 1988.

Segal, Charles. Orpheus: The Myth of the Poet. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989. Chapters deal with various aspects of the subject. Vergil, Ovid, Seneca, H. D., Rukeyser, Rich, Ashbery, and Rilke are among the authors treated. A concluding chapter is called “Orpheus from Antiquity to Today.”

Warden, J., ed. Orpheus: The Metamorphoses of a Myth. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985.

West, M. L. The Orphic Poems. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.

Mystery Religions

Bowden, Hugh. Mystery Cults of the Ancient World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010. A well illustrated introduction to the major cults.

Burkert, Walter. Ancient Mystery Cults. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987.

Carpenter, Edward. The Origins of Christian and Pagan Beliefs. Senate, 1996. A study of the many elements common to paganism and Christianity (e.g., the sacraments, a golden age before the fall, a savior god, and virgin mother).

Clauss, Manfred, The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and His Mysteries. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Cole, Susan. Theoi Megaloi: The Cult of the Great Gods of Samothrace. Leiden: Brill, 1984.

Cosmopoulos, Michael R. Greek Mysteries: The Archaeology of Ancient Greek Secret Cults. New York: Routledge, 2003. Essays on the major cults from the Bronze Age to the Roman imperial period in Greece and Asia Minor.

Cumont, Franz. The Mysteries of Mithra. New York: Dover, 1956 [1903].

———. Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism. New York: Dover, 1956 [1911]. Reprint of English translation (London: Routledge, 1911) of Les religions orientales dans le paganisme romain (Paris, 1906).

Ferguson, John. The Religions of the Roman Empire. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1970. See especially Chapter 7.

Godwin, Joscelyn. Mystery Religions in the Ancient World. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1971.

Meyer, Marvin W., ed. Sacred Texts of the Mystery Religions: A Sourcebook. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999 (1987). The translated texts relate to the following mysteries: of the Grain Mother and Daughter; of Andania in Messenia; of Dionysus; of the Great Mother and her Lover and the Syrian Goddess; of Isis and Osiris; of Mithras; and those within Judaism and Christianity.

Mylonas, George E. Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961.

Nock, Arthur Darby. Conversion: The Old and the New in Religion from Alexander the Great to Augustine of Hippo. New York: Oxford University Press, 1961 [1933]. The classic account of the effect of the mysteries on the individual worshiper.

Rahner, Hugo. Greek Myths and Christian Mystery. Foreword by E. O. James. New York: Harper & Row, 1963.

Schroeder, John, and Jordan, Michael. Cults, from Bacchus to Heaven’s Gate. London: Carlton, 2002. Brief but informative surveys of ancient and modern cults for our own age of religious fanaticism.

Turcan, Robert. The Cults of the Roman Empire. Translated by Antonia Nevill. Oxford, and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1996 [1989].

Ulansey, David. The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Vermaseren, Maarten J. Cybele and Attis: The Myth and the Cult. London: Thames & Hudson, 1977.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

Music

Very informative is the entry on “Orpheus” in vol. 3 of The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, edited by Stanley Sadie.

Beethoven, Ludwig Van (1770–1827). Concerto No. 4 in G, for piano and orchestra. Liszt and more recently Owen Jander (a musicologist) connect the brief second movement to the Orpheus myth: the pianist represents Orpheus and the orchestra represents the Furies, whom an ever more assured soloist gradually tames in their alternating utterances. Very many recordings available of this beautiful work.

Berlioz, Hector (1803–1869). La Mort d’Orphée. Cantata (monologue and bacchanal, for tenor, woman’s chorus, and orchestra). Vallejo. Orchestre National de Lille, cond. Casadesus. Naxos 8.555810 (includes La Mort de Cléopâtre). Also Garino. Dutch Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Fournet. Denon CO72886.

Bertoni, Ferdinando (1725–1813). Orfeo. Opera using the same libretto (by Ranieri de’ Calzabigi) as Gluck. Ziegler, Gasdia, et al. I Solisti Veneti, cond. Scimone. Arts 4711-2; Juon Fischer et al. Aargauer Symphonie-Orchester, cond. Tschupp. Jecklin Edition JD 700-2.

Birtwistle, Harrison (1934–). Nenia: The Death of Orpheus. Garrison, Rigby, et al. BBC Symphony Orchestra, cond. Davis. NMC D050; Hardy. Musikfabrik NRW, cond. Kalitzke. CPO 999 360-2 (distributed by Naxos). Nenia is the form of an ancient Roman song of lament, and in this striking modern version the soprano performs all sorts of exciting vocal pyrotechnics. Text by Peter Zinovieff. Birtwistle’s first treatment of the Orpheus myth.

———. The Mask of Orpheus. Opera. Libretto by Peter Zinovieff. In this complex work, the major characters are presented in a threefold fashion: a singer plays Orpheus, the Man; an actor/mime, Orpheus, the Hero; and a puppet/singer, Orpheus, the Myth. The frenzied maenads sacrifice Orpheus to Dionysus, dismember his body, and eat, in their sacramental feast, “the most intimate parts of his flesh.”

Boyce, William (1711–1779). “When Orpheus Went Down to the Regions Below” and “An Answer to Orpheus and Euridice.” “Classical Kirkby (Orpheus and Corinna).” BIS-CD-1435. This album devoted to 17th century songs on classical themes, arranged for soprano and lute, includes other works about Orpheus by Lawes and Greene and also Sappho, Ancreon, and Lanier’s “Hero and Leander.”

Carter, Elliott (1908–). In Sleep, In Thunder. Song cycle of six poems by Robert Lowell; one of the songs, “In Genesis,” relates to Orpheus. Ciesinski et al. Speculum Musicae. Bridge BCD 9014.

———. Syringa. Original setting of a poem about Orpheus by Ashbery, with added Greek texts, sung in Greek. DeGaetani et al. American Masters CRI CD610.

Charpentier, Marc-Antoine (1643–1704). Orphée Descendant aux Enfers. Cantata. Soloists with the Ricercar Consort, cond. Ledroit. Ricercar RIC 037011. Later Charpentier composed a larger-scaled work on this same theme, La Descente d’Orphé aux Enfers. Petibon et al. Les Arts Florissants, cond. Christie. Erato 063011913-2.

Clérambault, Louis-Nicolas (1676–1749). Orphée. Cantata, for solo voice and orchestra. Mythologie: Cantates Françaises. Forget and L’Ensemble Arion. Analekta AN 28050. Also includes Léandre et Héro, Campra’s Arion, and de Montéclair’s Pan et Syrinx.

Danielpour, Richard (1956–). Sonnets to Orpheus. Ying Huang. London Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Nierenberg. Sony Classical SK 60850. Song setting of six poems by Rilke.

DeCormier, Robert. Four Sonnets to Orpheus. New York Choral Society, cond. DeCormier. Centaur CRC 2028. Settings of poems by Rilke, scored for four-part a capella chorus.

Foss, Lucas (1922–). Orpheus and Euridice, for two violins and orchestra, incorporating pantomime. Menuhin and Michell, violins. Brooklyn Philharmonic, cond. Foss. New World Records NW375-2.

Gagneux, Renaud (1947–). Orphée. Opera. Extracts. Lara et al. Philharmonic Orchestra of Strasbourg, cond. Schnitzler. Cybelia CY 865.

Gluck, Christoph Willibald (1714–1787). Orpheus and Eurydice. A beautiful work and a landmark in the history of opera. Unabridged original French version for tenor. Simoneau, Danco et al. Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux, cond. Rosbaud. Philips 434 784-2. A great performance. Also with a tenor, Croft et al. Les Musiciens du Louvre, cond. Minkowski. Archiv Production Minkowski. Many fine recordings are available in various versions (including the revision by Berlioz), with Orpheus usually sung by a mezzo-soprano. The concert performance of act 2 (Merriman et al., NBC Symphony Orchestra, cond. Toscanini) is a revelation. RCA Victor 60280-2-RC (Vol. 46 of the Toscanini Collection).

Haydn, Franz Joseph (1732–1809). Orfeo ed Euridice. Opera. Bartoli, Heilmann, et al. The Academy of Ancient Music Orchestra, cond. Hogwood. L’Oiseau-Lyre 452 668-2. Sutherland, Gedda, et al. Scottish National Orchestra, cond. Bonynge. Verona 28018/19, also Myto MCD 905.29. The original title of the opera is L’Anima del Filosofo.

Henze, Hans Werner (1926–). Orpheus behind the Wire. Text in five sections by Edward Bond. The New York Virtuoso Singers, cond. Harold Rosenbaum. CRI CD 615. Includes Perle, “Sonnets to Orpheus.”

Hommage à Paul Klee. This album contains two works inspired by Klee’s abstract painting A Garden for Orpheus: one for horn and strings by Eric Gaudibert (1936–) and the other for string orchestra and horns by Jean-Luc Darbellay (1946–). Col Legno 20240.

Hovhaness, Alan (1911–2000). Meditation on Orpheus, for orchestra. Seattle Symphony Orchestra, cond. Schwarz. Delos DE 3168; Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, cond. Strickland. Bay Cities. BCD-1004.

Kirchner, Volker David (1942–). Orphischer Gesang II. String sextet. MDG (Gold) MDG 304 0871-2. Inspired by Rilke, Kirchner depicts the woeful song of an old and weary Orpheus. Kirchner also wrote an earlier Orphic Song, string sextet no. 1.

Landi, Stefano (1586–1639). La Morte d’Orfeo. Early opera, subtitled “a pastoral tragi-comedy.” Elwes et al. Currende, cond. Stubbs. Accent ACC 8746/47D.

Lang, David (1957–). Orpheus Over and Under, for two pianos. Niemann and Tilles (Double Edge). CRI CD 625. Also on the album, Are You Experienced: Emergency Music. CRI CD 625. The themes of hope and loss in the myth are conveyed musically. The composer explains: “Orpheus first loses Eurydice above ground, regains her below ground, and loses her finally when crossing the horizon, where over and under meet.”

Lawes, Henry (1596–1662). “Orpheus’ Hymn to God.” Classical Kirkby (Orpheus and Corinna). BIS-CD-1435. This album devoted to 17th century songs on classical themes, arranged for soprano and lute, includes other works about Orpheus by Greene and Boyce, and also Sappho, Ancreon, and Lanier’s “Hero and Leander.”

Liszt, Franz (1811–1886). Orpheus. Lovely symphonic poem, with a sublime and subdued spirituality not always characteristic of Liszt. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Kosler. Supraphonet 11 1112-2. Includes Prometheus.

Malipiero, Gian Francesco (1882–1973). L’Orfeide. Opera. Text by the composer. Olivero et al. Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, cond. Scherchen. The figure of Orpheus frames the work. The recording includes an interview with Magda Olivero.

Menotti, Gian Carlo (1911–). The Death of Orpheus. Cantata for tenor, chorus and orchestra. MacDougall and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, cond. Hickox. Chandos CHAN 9979.

Milhaud, Darius (1892–1974). Les Malheurs d’Orphée. Tableaux depicting Orpheus as a healer. Matrix Ensemble, cond. Ziegler. ASV CD DCA 758.

Monteverdi, Claudio (1567–1643). L’Orfeo. Important masterpiece in the early development of opera. Bostridge et al. Le Concert d’Astrée, cond. Haïn. Virgin Veritas 5 45642 2. Berberian et al. Vienna Concentus Musicus, cond. Harnoncourt. Teldec 35020. Many excellent recordings are available, offering different realizations of the score. It was even orchestrated by Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936). Coni et al. Orchestra da Camera Lucchese, cond. Handt. Claves CD 50-9419.

Musgrave, Thea (1928–). Orfeo III. An Improvisation on a Theme. For solo flute and string quintet. Orchestra 2001, cond. Freeman. CRI CD 723. Orfeo I was originally for solo flute and tape; Orfeo II distributed the music on the tape among 15 strings. This version is especially for Freeman and his orchestra. The flute represents Orpheus and all other characters are portrayed by the strings. In the six sections, Orpheus laments, crosses the river Styx, calms the Furies, searches among the shades, hears Euridice’s pleas, and is attacked by the Bacchantes.

Offenbach, Jacques (1819–1889). Orphée aux Enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld). Opéra-bouffe. Dessay, Beuron, Podles, et al. Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Lyon, cond. Minkowski. EMI Classics 5 56725 2. The can-can from this delightful operetta has often been recorded. Excerpts in an amusing English translation performed by the English National Opera, cond. Elder. TER CDTER 1134.

Orff, Carl (1895–1982). Klage der Ariadne and Tanz der Spröde. Wagemann et al. Münchner Rundfunkorchester, cond. Eichhorn. ARTS 43004-2. Orff made three settings of Monteverdi’s works under the title of Lamenti: Orfeo, Lamento dell’Arianna, and Ballo dell’Ingrate (Ballet of the Ungrateful Women). The text for the latter is set in Hades, where Venus and Amor show the fate of those women who reject the power of love.

———. Orpheus. Opera. An adaptation of Monteverdi’s Orfeo. Ridderbusch, Prey, Popp et al. Munich Radio Orchestra, cond. Eichhorn. Arts Archives 43004-2.

Orpheus Suite. Popular. Sections are Descent into the Underworld, Dialog with the Devil, and Ascent from Hell. Composed, conducted, and produced by Chip Davis. Performed by Mannheim Steamroller. Fresh Aire VI. American Gramophone AGCD-386.

“Orpheus with His Lute.” A song from Shakespeare (Henry VIII, act 3, scene 3) set to music, usually for voice and piano, by many composers:

Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mario (1895–1968), Banks and Wellborn. Marco Polo 8.223792.

Greene, Maurice (1696–1755). Classical Kirkby (Orpheus and Corinna). BIS-CD-1435. This album devoted to 17th century songs on classical themes, arranged for soprano and lute, includes other works about Orpheus by Lawes, and Boyce and also Sappho, Anacreon, and Lanier’s “Hero and Leander.”

Locke, Matthew (1622–1677). Lieder und Instrumentalstücke. Kwella et al., The London Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble. EMI Classics 8 26526 2. This album includes a pastoral: “O Pan, great Pan.”

Schuman, William (1910–1992). Sure on This Shining Night: 20th Century Romantic Songs of America. White and Sanders. Hyperion CDA66920. Rees and Holroyd. Vox Box (American Composers series) CDX 3037. Arranged for guitar and flute. Fisk and Robison. Musicmasters 70838-2; also Musical Heritage Society CD 11239Y.

Sullivan, Sir Arthur (1842–1900). Shakespeare and Love. Humphreys et al. Pearl (Opal) SHE CD 9627.

Versions by Edmund Rubbra (1901–1986), Virginia Gabriel (1815–1877), and Richard Huntley (1931–) are found on the album Orpheus with His Lute, which contains other selections (some of them operatic excerpts) on the theme of Orpheus and Eurydice by Gluck, Haydn, Landi, Monteverdi, Peri, and Rossi. Two of the selections are for harp:  Marius Flothuis (1914–), “Pour le Tombeau d’Orphée” (harp solo) and Anthoine Francisque (1570–1605), “Le Trésor d’Orphée” (harp duo), Morgan (mezzo-soprano) and Witsenberg (harp), Globe GLO 5182.

Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista (1710–1736). Orfeo. Cantata for soprano, strings, and continuo. Faulkner. Camerata Budapest, cond. Halász. Naxos 8.550766. Also Klepper, Borst, and Hamberger Streichquartett. Capriccio 10 517.

Peri, Jacopo (1561–1633). L’Euridice. Bonay et al. I Solisti di Milano, cond. Ephrikian. Rivo Alto CRA2 8951/2; Banditelli et al. Ensemble Arpeggio, cond. De Caro. Arts 47276-2. Earliest opera to survive in its entirety. Pozzer, Dordolo, et al. La Campagnia dei Febi Armonica Ensemble Albalonga, cond. Cetrangelo. Pavane Records ADW 7322/3.

Perle, George (1915–). “Sonnets to Orpheus.” Part 2 of Perle’s Songs of Praise and Lamentation, for orchestra and chorus, provides a musical setting for sonnets 1, 9, 5, and 19 by Rilke. The New York Virtuoso Singers, cond. Rosenbaum. CRI CD 615 Includes Henze, To Orpheus.

Poliziana, Angelo (1454–1494). The Legend of Orpheus (La Favola di Orfeo). Sony Classical SB2K 60095. Benet et al. Huelgas Ensemble, cond. Van Nevel. The music that accompanied this 15th century play by Poliziana is no longer extant. This recording recreates a score by drawing upon music of the period by five composers, unfortunately with no accompanying printed text.

Rameau, Jean-Philippe (1683–1764). Orphée. Cantata. Schlick et al., with harpsichord. Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm (distr. Koch International) L-3131.

Rossi, Luigi (1597–1653). Orfeo. Opera. Mellon et al. Les Arts Florissants, cond. Christie. Harmonia Mundi HMC 901358.60.

Rossini, Gioacchino (1792–1868). Il Pianto d’Armonia sulla Morte di Orfeo (The Lament of Harmony on the Death of Orpheus). “Rossini Cantatas, vol. 2,” Decca 466 328-2. Kelly. Orchestra e Coro Filarmonico della Scala, cond. Chailly. Includes Le Nozze di Teti e di Peleo.

Sartorio, Antonio (1620–1681). L’Orfeo. Opera. Vartolo et al. Clemencic Consort, cond. Clemencic. Fonit Cetra CDC 96. The myth is drastically modified and a subplot involving Achilles, Heracles, and Chiron is added.

Sauguet, Henri (1901–1989). Concerto d’ Orphée, for violin and Orchestra. Kaufman. French National Radio Orchestra, cond. Leconte. Music & Arts CD-620. The music is inspired by Orpheus’ charming of the animals.

Schubert, Franz (1797–1828). “Orpheus.” Song. Orpheus’ melodic appeal to the shades of the Underworld. Fischer-Dieskau and Moore. Deutsche Grammophon 437 215-2. Vol. 1

Sigurbjörnsson, Torkel (1938–). Euridice, for flute and orchestra. Wiesler. Southern Jutland Symphony Orchestra, cond. Vettöö. BIS CD-709. Includes Liongate. The music re-tells the myth from Euridice’s point of view, with “Hell” represented by wind instruments and Orfeo by the strings.

Stadlmair, Hans (1929–). Orpheus-Legende. In five parts for viola and piano. Hawthorne and Klepper. Cavalli Records CCD 215.

Strauss, Johann Sr. (1804–1849). Orpheus. Quadrille. Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Eichenholz. Marco Polo 8.223617. Written for a ball of The Friends of Music in Vienna, whose mascot was appropriately named Orpheus.

Stravinsky, Igor (1882–1971). Orpheus. Music for the ballet, choreographed by George Balanchine (Apollon Musagète). Ballet. Orchestra of St. John's, Smith Square, cond. Lubbock. ASV CD DCA 618. This is the 1928 version; the work was revised in 1947. Includes Apollo.

Telemann, Georg Philipp (1681–1767). Orpheus. Röschmann et al. Berlin Academy of Music, cond. Jacobs. Harmonia Mundi 901618/19. This opera was discovered in the 1970's. Orasia, Queen of Thrace, is introduced as a major character in love with Orpheus to add a new complication to the plot.

Voigtländer, Gabriel (ca. 1596–16430. “Zum Lobe der Musik” (“In Praise of Music”), in the album Orpheus with his Lute (Globe GLO 5182), which contains other selections on the theme of Orpheus and Eurydice. See box, above.  

Weill, Kurt (1900–1950). Der neue Orpheus. Cantata for soprano, violin, and orchestra. Farey and Guttman. Rheinische Philharmonie, cond. Serebrier. ASV CD DCA 987. The text by Iwan Goll presents an Orpheus of a modern metropolis.

Zhurbin, Alexander. Orpheus and Eurydice (1975). Assadulin and Ponarovskaya, et al., Poyushchiye Guitary (The Singing Guitars). Rock opera in Russian, which has won a measure of renown and notoriety.

“Orpheus with His Lute.” A song from Shakespeare (Henry VIII, act 3, scene 3) set to music, usually for voice and piano, by many composers:

Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mario (1895–1968), Banks and Wellborn. Marco Polo 8.223792.

German, Edward (1862–1936). The English Songbook. Bostridge and Drake. EMI Classics 5 56830 2.

Greene, Maurice (1696–1755). Classical Kirkby (Orpheus and Corinna). BIS-CD-1435. This album devoted to 17th century songs on classical themes, arranged for soprano and lute, includes other works about Orpheus by Lawes, and Boyce and also Sappho, Anacreon, and Lanier’s “Hero and Leander.”

Locke, Matthew (1622–1677). Lieder und Instrumentalstücke. Kwella et al., The London Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble. EMI Classics 8 26526 2. This album includes a pastoral: “O Pan, great Pan.”

Schuman, William (1910–1992). Sure on This Shining Night: 20th Century Romantic Songs of America. White and Sanders. Hyperion CDA66920. Rees and Holroyd. Vox Box (American Composers series) CDX 3037. Arranged for guitar and flute. Fisk and Robison. Musicmasters 70838-2; also Musical Heritage Society CD 11239Y.

Sullivan, Sir Arthur (1842–1900). Shakespeare and Love. Humphreys et al. Pearl (Opal) SHE CD 9627.

Versions by Edmund Rubbra (1901–1986), Virginia Gabriel (1815–1877), and Richard Huntley (1931–) are found on the album Orpheus with His Lute, which contains other selections (some of them operatic excerpts) on the theme of Orpheus and Eurydice by Gluck, Haydn, Landi, Monteverdi, Peri, and Rossi. Two of the selections are for harp:  Marius Flothuis (1914–), “Pour le Tombeau d’Orphée” (harp solo) and Anthoine Francisque (1570–1605), “Le Trésor d’Orphée” (harp duo), Morgan (mezzo-soprano) and Witsenberg (harp), Globe GLO 5182.

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Primary Sources | Secondary Sources | Music | DVD

DVD

Black Orpheus. Film. Award-winning re-creation, set in Rio at carnival time, starring Breno Melo and Marpessa Dawn, and directed by Marcel Camus. Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfá. In Portuguese with optional English subtitles. The Criterion Collection. Based upon the play by Vinicius de Moraes. For a very different film version, see Orfeu.

The Blood of a Poet, Jean Cocteau’s first film, which explores themes of artistic creation, poetry, death, and rebirth in sequences of dreamlike imagery, The Blood of a Poet, Orpheus, and Testament of Orpheus make up what may be called Cocteau’s Orphic trilogy. The DVD release of this trilogy (The Criterion Collection) includes many priceless bonuses, including transcripts of Cocteau’s insightful essays for each movie, and two illuminating documentaries. Mirrors, through which we see the ravages of time, and the stealthy approach of death, are recurrent images reflecting his fascination with death and the interplay of dreams and reality. The three movies are available separately.

The Fugitive Kind. Fascinating and challenging reworking of the myth, with a brilliant cast, Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, and Joanne Woodward, directed by Sidney Lumet. Screenplay by Tennessee Williams from his play Orpheus Descending. MGM. Also The Criterian Collection.

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, Complete Collection. John Hurt stars as the storyteller of the tales recreated by live actors and characters created by Henson: Daedalus and Icarus, Orpheus and Eurydice, Perseus and the Gorgon, and Theseus and the Minotaur. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

L’Orfeo, by Claudio Monteverdi. Production of Barcelona’s Gran Tea Pierre Audi tre del Liceu. Stage direction, Gilbert Deflo. Le Concert des Nations, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, cond. Jorfi Savall. BBC Opus Arte. Important masterpiece in the early development of opera.

———. John Mark Ainsley, Russell Smythe et al. Stage director, Pierre Audi. Tragicomedia and Concerto Palatino, cond. Stephen Stubbs. Opus Arte

Orfeu. Film directed by Carlos Diegues. Music by Caerano Veloso. In Portuguese with optional English subtitles. New Yorker Video. A film version of Vinicius de Moraes’ play, set in a world of drug raids and lynch mobs, unlike the more poetic Black Orpheus.

Orpheus. A cinematic masterpiece, starring Jean Marais and written and directed by Jean Cocteau. In French with English subtitles. The Criterion Collection. Cocteau also has a play, Orpheus, which first brought him fame; it is a fascinating, but preliminary and immature, study for the superb movie he would make later.

Testament of Orpheus. Jean Cocteau is the writer, director, and star; as the personification of the Orpheus archetype, he reveals that his film is “a strip-tease act, gradually peeling away my body to reveal my naked soul.” The Criterion Collection.

Orfeo ed Euridice. Opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck. Janet Baker, Elizabeth Speiser, et al. Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Production by Peter Hall. London Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Raymond Leppard. Kultur.

———. Jochen Kowalski, Gillian Webster, et al. The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, cond. Hartmut Haenchen. Surreal version, staged by Harry Kupfer. Kultur.

———. Bernadette Manca Di Nissa, Paula Almerares, Paola Antonucci, et al. Orchestra of the San Carlo Theater Naples, cond. Gustav Kuhn. Brilliant Classics.

———. Orphée et Eurydice. David Hobson, Amanda Thane, Miriam Gormley, et al. Choreography by Meryl Tankard and directed by Stefanos Lazaridis. Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, cond. Marco Guidarini. Opera Australia Production. Kultur. The tenor Hobson is known for his appealing Rudolpho in Baz Lurmann’s Australian production of La Bohème (also on DVD) and his performance here also is worth investigating.

———. Orphée et Eurydice. Algana, Gaberini et al. Bologna Teatro Communale Orchestra, cond. Bisanti. Bel Air Classiques BAC 452.  Orpheus is sung by the renowned tenor, Roberto Alagna in an adaptation by his brother David, in a contemporary setting.  Eurydice dies in a car accident on her wedding day and Orpheus’ quest becomes a dream ending in a cemetery. Amore, now a baritone, become an employee ina funeral palour, who now becomes Orpheus’ guide.  

———. Orphée et Eurydice. Magdalena Kožená, Madeline Bender, Patricia Petibon, et al. Thé âtre Musical de Paris-Chatelet Production. Stage director, Robert Wilson. Orchestra Révolutionnaire et Romantique Monteverdi Choir, cond. Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Image Entertainment.

———. Orphée et Eurydice. Vesselina Kasarova, Rosemary Joshua, Deborah York, et al. Bayerische Staatsorchestra, cond. Ivor Bolton. Farao Classics.

———. Orpheus und Eurydike. Sung in German. Bel Air Classiques BAC044. Subtitled a dance opera because of the importance of the choreography and stage direction of Pina Baush. Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris. Balthasar-Neumann Ensemble, cond. Hengelbrock.

———. Films for the Humanities offers a performance (AGU3367) that claims to re-create the opera as staged by Appia and Dalcroze in 1912. This static amateur effort is only for the hardy.

On VHS video not yet on DVD
Orpheus Descending, TV movie version of the play by Tennessee Williams with a miscast Vanessa Redgrave and weak Kevin Anderson, directed by Peter Hall.  Turner Home Entertainment 6165. An interesting but flawed play that is to be preferred in its film version, The Fugitive Kind.

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