La morte d'Orfeo

La morte d'Orfeo (The Death of Orpheus) is an opera in five acts by the Italian composer Stefano Landi. It was first performed in Rome in 1619. The work is styled a tragicomedia pastorale (pastoral tragicomedy). The libretto, which may be by the composer himself, is inspired by La favola d'Orfeo (1484) by Angelo Poliziano. Unlike Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, Landi's opera contains comic elements.


Role Voice type Premiere cast,
Orfeo (Orpheus) tenor
Teti (Thetis) alto
Destiny bass
L'Ebro bass
Aurora alto
Mercurio (Mercury) tenor
Apolline tenor
Bacco (Dionysus) alto
Nisa soprano
Ireno tenor
Lincastro alto
Il furore bass
Calliope alto
Fileno tenor
Caronte (Charon) bass
Euridice (Eurydice) soprano
Giove (Jupiter) bass
Fosforo alto


After Orpheus has failed to save his wife Eurydice from the underworld, he renounces wine and the love of women. This offends the god Bacchus who urges his female followers, the Maenads, to kill Orpheus. The enraged Maenads tear him apart. The gods want the dead Orpheus to join them on Olympus but Orpheus wants to be reunited with Eurydice in Hades. Only after the god Mercury shows him that, having drunk the waters of Lethe, Eurydice no longer remembers her husband, does Orpheus agree to ascend to Olympus.



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