L'anima del filosofo

L'anima del filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice (The Soul of the Philosopher, or Orpheus and Euridice), Hob. 28/13, is an opera in Italian in four acts by Joseph Haydn, the last he ever wrote. The libretto, by Carlo Francesco Badini, is based on the myth of Orpheus and Euridice as told in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Composed in 1791, the opera was never performed during Haydn's lifetime.

L'anima del filosofo
Opera by Joseph Haydn
Portrait of the composer by Thomas Hardy, in 1791, when Haydn composed the work, his last opera
TranslationThe Soul of the Philosopher
Other titleOrfeo ed Euridice
Based onmyth of Orpheus
9 June 1951 (1951-06-09)
Teatro della Pergola, Florence


After his patron Prince Nikolaus Esterházy had died in 1790, Haydn travelled to London where he received a commission to write several symphonies. The impresario John Gallini also offered him a contract to write an opera for the King's Theatre but due to a dispute between King George III and the Prince of Wales he was refused permission to stage it.[1] The opera was written in 1792 in London.

There are some uncertainties about why the opera was banned at the time.

The score was nearly completed but was not published in its complete form before the 20th century. It was partially published by Breitkopf and Härtel in c. 1807.[2]

Various manuscripts were scattered in several European libraries.[3] H. C. Robbins Landon did much to assemble the available scores.

Performance history

L'anima del filosofo remained unperformed until 9 June 1951, when it appeared at the Teatro della Pergola, Florence, with a cast including Maria Callas and Boris Christoff, under the conductor Erich Kleiber.

The UK premiere was in 1955, a concert performance at the St Pancras Festival. This was the debut of the baritone Derek Hammond-Stroud.[4]

It has been performed and recorded several times since then.

The opera makes extensive use of the chorus.


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 9 June 1951
(conductor: Erich Kleiber)
Orfeo tenor Thyge Thygesen
Euridice soprano Maria Callas
Plutone bass Mario Frosini
Creonte bass Boris Christoff
Baccante soprano Liliana Poli
Genio soprano Julanna Farkas
Corifeo baritone Edio Peruzzi
First courtier baritone Gino Orlandini
Second courtier/Warrior tenor Gino Sarri
Third courtier baritone Lido Pettini
Fourth courtier tenor Camillo Righini

The opera is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two cors anglais, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, two trombones, timpani, harp, strings, continuo.


  1. L'Anima del Filosofo — PINCHGUT OPERA 2010
  2. Joseph Haydn : Orfeo ed Euridice (L'anima del filosofo) 1951 edition, Boston; PDF version
  3. The Opera whose time hadn't come Haydn Seek
  4. Millington, Barry (27 May 2012). "Derek Hammond-Stroud obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.