Rossi : Orfeo

19 and 20 february 2016 - 8pm

On 2nd March 1647, at the Palais-Royal, Mazarin organized the first performance of an opera in Paris, in front of Anne d’Autriche and her children, among whom the nine year old Louis XIV: Orfeo composed by Luigi Rossi, with an amazing staging by the great engineer Giacomo Torelli.


All was new in these performances: the discovery by the French public of the great Italian castrati, the combination of the King’s 24 violins playing with many Italian musicians, a tragic comedy which would create the future base of French lyric tragedy invented by Lully, or a machinery which made it possible to change sets and create unprecedented stage illusion.

But what stands out foremost is an incredibly rich score, for which Luigi Rossi had an extremely long composition time, with some of the most moving 17th century lamenti, a rich and varied use of ensemble movements (from the prologue with its triple choir to Orpheus’s sublime tears with four women’s voices) and an incredibly lively recitative. In a completely novel combination of French and Italian style, the orchestra offers a wealth of instrumental colors: from the King’s 24 violins to cornets, sackbuts, citterns, lira da braccio, colascione, flageolets, regal, etc…

Unfairly forgotten, mostly because of its ambitious dimensions and lack of musical sources, this French stage re-creation is brought to you with a cast of French and Italian singers, with confirmed young talents such as Gaëlle Arquez, Marc Mauillon or Giulia Semenzato, Francesca Aspromonte and also specialists of 17th century Italian repertoire such as Dominique Visse or Victor Torres. A musical festival worthy of the splendors of the French court.


Teaser Orfeo of Rossi - Opéra National de Lorraine



Luigi Rossi (1597-1653)

Tragicomedy in music in 3 acts with prologue. Libretto by Francesco Buti.
First performance Palais-Royal, Paris 2nd March 1647.


New production : Opéra national de Lorraine (French stage production)
Coproduction : Opéra Royal / Château de Versailles Spectacles, Opéra national de Bordeaux, Théâtre de Caen, Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles.



Judith van Wanroij Orfeo

Francesca Aspromonte Euridice

Guiseppina Bridelli Aristeo

Giulia Semenzato Venere/Proserpina 

Luigi de Donato Augure/Plutone

Ray Chenez Nutrice/Amore 

Renato Dolcini Satiro

Dominique Visse Vecchia 

Victor Torres Endimione/Caronte

Marc Mauillon Momo

David Tricou Apollo

Alicia Amo Grâce 1

Violaine Le Chenadec Grâce 2 

Lucile Richardot Grâce 3

Guillaume Gutiérrez Parque 1

Olivier Coiffet Parque 2

Virgile Ancely Parque 3


Chœur et Orchestre - Ensemble Pygmalion

Raphaël Pichon Conductor


Jetske Mijnssen Direction

Ben Baur stage sets 

Gideon Davey Costumes

Bernd Purkrabek Lights

Barbara Nestola Conseillère linguistique

Claudia Isabel Martin Direction assistant

Julia Berndt stage sets assistant

Véronique Kespi Régie générale

Danièle Haas Régie de scène

Arnaud de Pasquale, Pierre Gallon, Matthieu Boutineau Chefs de chant