List of Orphean operas

Operas based on the Orphean myths, and especially the story of Orpheus' journey to the underworld to rescue his wife, Eurydice, were amongst the earliest examples of the art form and continue to be written into the 21st century. Orpheus, the Greek hero whose songs could charm both gods and wild beasts and coax the trees and rocks into dance, has achieved an emblematic status as a metaphor for the power of music.[1] The following is an annotated list of operas (and works in related genres) based on his myth. The works are listed with their composers and arranged by date of first performance. In cases where the opera was never performed, the approximate date of composition is given.

17th century

18th century

19th century

  • 1802 – Carl Conrad Cannabich – Orpheus
  • 1807 – Friedrich August KanneOrpheus
  • 1813 – Ferdinand KauerOrpheus und Euridice, oder So geht es im Olympus zu
  • 1814 – Marchese Francesco Sampieri – Orfeo (cantata?)
  • 1858 – Jacques OffenbachOrpheus in the Underworld
  • 1860 – Gustav Michaelis – Orpheus auf der Oberwelt
  • 1867 – Karl Ferdinand Konradin – Orpheus im Dorfe (operetta)

20th century

21st century



  1. Agnew (2008) pp. 7–10
  2. Rosand, "Opera: III. Early opera, 1600–90"
  3. Whenham (1986) p. xi
  4. Le carnaval de Venise, Le magazine de l'opéra baroque , performance details (in French)
  5. L'altra Euridice, Edition Peters
  6. Rousse State Opera. "Световна премиера на операта „Орфей” от канадския композитор Джон Робъртсън в МФ „Сцена край реката”-Русе" ("World Premiere of the opera Orpheus by Canadian composer John Robertson"). Retrieved 22 February 2016 (in Bulgarian).


  • Agnew, Vanessa, Enlightenment Orpheus: The Power of Music in Other Worlds, Oxford University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-19-533666-5.
  • Rosand, Ellen, "Opera: III. Early opera, 1600–90", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed via subscription 27 April 2010)
  • Spencer, Neil, "Anais Mitchell: Hadestown", The Observer, 25 April 2010 (accessed 27 April 2010)
  • Sternfeld, Frederick W., "Orpheus", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed via subscription 15 August 2007)
  • Whenham, John, Claudio Monteverdi, Orfeo, Cambridge University Press, 1986. ISBN 0-521-28477-5
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