Venice in the 17th century was the birthplace of opera. Its dominant and most successful exponent was Francesco Cavalli. Once the pupil of Monteverdi, Cavalli eclipsed his master by composing 41 operas of which 27 are preserved in the Library of St Mark in Venice. Born in Lombardy, Cavalli (1602-1676) came to Venice as a 14-year-old singer, becoming an organist, then choir master. The opening of the first public opera house led to his writing for the stage; at the age of 37 his first opera was produced. The following year, 1640, he composed The Loves of Apollo & Dafne. Now 380 years later, Pinchgut Opera returns to the stage with a production of that pivotal work.
Pinchgut has forged a special place in opera since its first production at the City Recital Hall in 2002 having now presented 23 rarely performed musical gems. Led by the excellent Erin Helyard with the Orchestra of the Antipodes, it maintains a remarkably high standard of performance, both musically and theatrically. The Loves of Apollo & Dafne will be directed by Mitchell Butel with an interesting cast led by Alexandra Oomens, recently from London, impressive countertenor Max Riebl and Stacey Alleaume who has just completed an excellent season in La Traviata on the Harbour.
Changing fashions meant that Cavalli’s music lapsed in the 18th and 19th centuries but reappraisal came in the mid-20th century, particularly at Glyndebourne.
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