Orfeo and Euridice’s friends gather for their wedding. The happy couple set off on their honeymoon. But soon, terrible news reaches the wedding party: there has been a dreadful accident and Euridice has died. Orfeo is in despair. His friends gather for Euridice’s funeral, but an angry Orfeo asks to be left alone to grieve. He curses his fate.
Amore, the god of love, appears. Jove, the king of the gods, has taken pity on Orfeo. If with his brilliant singing, Orfeo can placate the furies
of the underworld, he will be allowed to bring Euridice back to life - and to the light of day. There are two conditions: Orfeo must not look back at Euridice on their journey - and he must not reveal to her his reasons. Orfeo accepts Amore’s challenge and begins his descent to the underworld.
The tragic Lost Brides of Hades who guard the Elysian Gates are horrified: furious to see a mere mortal in their midst - but Orfeo charms them with his singing and they let him pass through the gates to Elysium, to find Euridice.
Euridice and Orfeo are reunited. But she can’t understand his strange behaviour: he won’t look at her, won’t embrace her - and rushes her away from the Elysian Fields, through dark underworld caverns towards the mortal world. Euridice is furious – what secret is Orfeo keeping? Has he stopped loving her? His coldness is worse than death. As they near their destination Orfeo can bear his wife’s distress no longer – and looks her directly in the eye. Euridice dies in his arms for a second time. Despairing, Orfeo is ready to kill himself, to rejoin his lover in death. But Amore appears again. She tells Orfeo that he has proved his constancy and suffered enough. Amore restores Euridice to life and unites the lovers once more. Orfeo and Euridice and their friends sing and dance in celebration of The Triumph of Love.
William Purefoy - Orfeo
William Purefoy has sung for the BBC Proms, English National Opera, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Hanover Band, English Concert, The Sixteen, Scottish Opera, Buxton Festival, Garsington Opera, Iford Arts, Opera Theatre Company, Classical Opera Company and Shakespeare’s Globe.
He has given concerts and recitals at Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Barbican, Purcell Room and in Innsbruck and Graz. International appearances have included New Zealand Opera, Theater Basel, Valencia Opera, Staatsoper Hannover in roles such as Ottone in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Ptolemy in Giulio Cesare, Ernesto in Il Mondo della Luna, Andronico in Tamerlano, Antonio in Gesualdo, Apollo in Apollo and Hyacinth, Ascanio in Ascanio in Alba and Athamas in Semele.
Helen Parker - Euridice
Helen Parker studied with a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music and her work has included Alphise in Rameau’s Les Boréades
with Sir Simon Rattle at the Salzburg Festival, first lady in Mozart’s Magic Flute with Richard Hickox, performances with the New London
Consort in Rome, Amsterdam, Spain, Italy and New Zealand, the Deutsche Oper, Berlin and the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Helen has appeared with the City of London Sinfonia, the Scholars Baroque Ensemble, the Northern Sinfonia and the Orchestra of
the Age of Enlightenment. She has recorded Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and Handel’s Messiah (Naxos), Monteverdi’s Combattimento and
Locke’s Psyche (Decca), Allegri’s Miserere (Sony), Purcell’s The Indian Queen (Decca), Pieces by Percy Grainger (Chandos) and Linley’s
Shakespeare Ode (Philips).
Heather Lowe - Amore
Heather Lowe studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and the National Opera Studio supported by Scottish Opera. She was a Finalist in the Maureen Lehane Competition‚ is a Samling Scholar‚ and a trained ballet and ballroom dancer. She is generously supported by Mr. and Mrs. Goddard‚ The Sybil Tutton award and Mr. and Mrs. Blumer and is grateful to be the recipient of a Richard Angas Memorial Award. Recent and future engagements include Hansel in Hansel and Gretel (ENO), Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro‚ Sesto in
Giulio Cesare‚ Hansel in Hansel und Gretel‚ The Page in Salome and Lel in Snowmaiden (Opera North), Angelina in La Cenerentola (West
Green House Opera), Rosina in The Barber of Seville (Opera North and Welsh National Opera‚ Dorabella in Così fan Tutte (Northern Ireland
Opera)‚ Tisbe in La Cenerentola (Welsh National Opera and Opera Holland Park)‚ Mrs Noye in Noye’s Fludde (Nevill Holt)‚ Isolier in Le Comte Ory (Chelsea Opera Group and Dorset Opera‚ Apprentice in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Glyndebourne Festival)‚ Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice‚ Penelope in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (RNCM) and Fidalma in The Secret Marriage (British Youth Opera).
Timothy Redmond - Conductpr
Timothy Redmond has conducted productions in repertoire from Handel to Hartmann for companies including the Royal Opera House,
ENO, Opera Theatre of St Louis, St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre and Irish National Opera; he has appeared at the Aldeburgh, Bregenz, Covent Garden, Los Angeles, Tenerife and Wexford festivals and has also conducted for Garsington, Glyndebourne, Strasbourg, De Vlaamse Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.
He conducts and records with many of the major British and European orchestras, has long-standing associations with the
Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestras and is Professor of Conducting at
the Guildhall School.
The Valletta Cultural Agency
A legacy of Valletta 2018 – European Capital of Culture, the Valletta Cultural Agency (VCA) was launched on the 29 th of March 2019. The VCA was set up to sustain and strengthen the capital city’s vibrant cultural life through the creation of an annual programme of creative events, to uphold standards of excellence in their organisation and to encourage access and participation by a diverse audience. In carrying out its remit, the VCA will seek to nurture, discover and create synergies between the old and the new, between people and the spaces and time in which we live to produce exciting and thought-provoking artistic works and cultural events. The Agency therefore works with artists, communities, NGOs, Public Cultural Organisations and other stakeholders to create a more sustainable, inclusive, and equitable cultural sector that involves residents, visitors, the business community and public entities alike.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds within its walls over 300 monuments, Valletta is one of the most densely-concentrated historic areas in the world in terms of tangible culture, but it has also enriched itself, generation after generation, with an equally valuable intangible
element that the Agency is committed to protect and promote. The VCA will strive to strengthen the city’s contemporary cultural practices and the living, working and visiting communities which give Valletta the vibrant life it has become synonymous with. Based on studies conducted for the Valletta 2018 initiative, the VCA believes that city’s lifeline is sustained by a thriving and sustainable cultural sector that fundamentally underpins the economic and social fabric of the city, bringing communities together, creating a platform for civic participation, employing hundreds of workers, attracting thousands of tourists, and generating millions in economic activity each year. Sustaining this level of cultural vibrancy and activity while involving the various stakeholders in the city will be another of the Agency’s priorities.
Picture by Justin Mamo
Nicholas Hurndall Smith
Instruments of Time and Truth
© Festivals Malta - 2019