Opera Scotland

Orfeo ed Euridice 1915Edinburgh Royal Choral Union

Read more about the opera Orpheus and Euridice

As a change from the usual repertoire of oratorios such as Messiah or Elijah, Edinburgh Royal Choral Union her put on Gluck's famous reform opera.  There is still plenty of work for the chorus to get its teeth into.

The star of the show, singing Orpheus, was the great dramatic mezzo Louise Kirkby Lunn.  She had previously appeared as Orpheus in 1912 with the Denhof Opera Company, in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.

 

Press Comment

Scotsman: Monday, 22 March 1915 (p7)

Edinburgh Royal Choral Union - Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice

'Edinburgh Royal Choral Union, in devoting a concert to what is essentially an operatic work,  abandoned for the moment the beaten track of choral societies.  But the experiment was worth making, and was justified in the artistic result.  A large, though not a crowded, audience occcupied the best parts of the Usher Hall on Saturday evening.

'Gluck's Orfeo was an epoch-making work.  It was written by a German who, like all composers of his time, was compelled to look abroad  for his examples and for his patronage.  His date (1714-1787) made him a contemporary of Sammartini, Rameau, Händel, Maria Theresa, Marie Antoinette,  and his great operatic rival Piccinni.  The opera by which he is most widely known and remembered was that which had for its subject the tragic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice.  It is a difficult work to produce properly on the stage, and its melodic beauty and simplicity of form render it suitable for the concert platform.

'The solos are divided among three lady principals.  The parts were filled on Saturday evening by Madame Kirkby Lunn (Orpheus),  Miss Ada Forrest  (Eurydice), and Miss Chrissie Stephen (Amor). The absence of the stage setting served to emphasise rather than diminish the success of the performance.

'Of Saturday night's performance it is possible to speak in terms of the highest praise.  Under the conductorship of Mr Charles M Inches, the chorus, assisted by a competent local orchestra led by Mr Theo Crozier, gave an excellent account of itself.  As examples of good attack and delivery of the words, well-balanced tone, and a sympathetic style of combined expression, the choruses, ''Here, where all is dark and silent,'' ''From the Realms,'' 'and ''The God of Love,'' might be singled out for special mention; but all the choral work was carried out on ahigh plane.

'So it was with the soloists.  Miss Chrissie Stephen carried through the part of Amor with great sweetness of tone, and specially distinguished herself in the third and last act, where she intervenes to make a happy ending.  Miss Ada Forrest sang with great charm as Eurydice.  Her chief work is in the third act, where finely attuned voice and a good style of enunciation of the words were notable.  The duet with Orpheus, ''Sweet the Hope once set before me,'' was one of the most distinguished pieces in the rendering, and in the pathetic dialogue which follows she bore her share of the honours.

'But, after all, Madame Kirkby Lunnas Orpheus bore the palm.  Those who have followed the career of this distinguished artist since the days when she filled minor parts in the Carl Rosa Company must realise that her steady progressive advancement, not merely on the festival platforms,  but also in Wagnerian opera, has been achieved by strenuous endeavour to make the best of a naturally rich and emotional voice.  She has also the gift of giving every word to the audience.  ''Che faro'' drew forth its inevitable applause; and all through Madame Lunn was the central figure in a fine production.'

Performance DatesOrfeo ed Euridice 1915

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Usher Hall | Edinburgh

20 Mar, 19.30

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