Claudio Monteverdi (1567−1643)

The wonderful power of music is central to Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. It recounts the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus, who through his singing wins back his beloved Eurydice from the Underworld. First performed in 1607, L’Orfeo is a milestone in the evolution of opera. As never before, the composition is interwoven as closely as possible with the libretto: music and drama interact to produce a compelling unity.

“I consider L’Orfeo the greatest opera ever written. No other composer, before or since, has come close to Monteverdi in terms of his ability to use the greatest possible reduction in the means at his disposal to create a level of intensity that holds the listener in a state of breathless suspense. Time and again the individual’s sufferings and joy are expressed with the most sparing of means. Nor is there anyone able to put language into music with such seismographic accuracy. Monteverdi is completely unique.” THOMAS HENGELBROCK


“It is hard to imagine this music sounding more refined or more subtly differentiated. Art and life, joy and anguish — rarely have opposites been as subsumed by one another as they were on this particular evening.” STUTTGARTER ZEITUNG

“The perfection of the chorus was impressive. What incredible translucency in the writing and what filigree elaboration of every nuance.” DIE RHEINPFALZ

“Among the soloists pride of place goes to the warm-toned baritone of Nikolay Borchev as Orpheus and, in the dual role of the Messenger and Proserpina, the mezzo-soprano Anna Bonitatibus, whose singing was as sensuous as her acting. What all the soloists achieved by way of emotionally charged declamation was nothing less than the ideal of the ornamented Italian singing of that period. […] Beauty, truth, charm, variety.” FAZ

“Performed with rare exquisiteness, as fragrant as a balmy summer’s night.” SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

“The more serious and the more tragic this tale of a man and a woman seeking love in the underworld became, the more reductive and the more concentrated Hengelbrock’s precise gestures grew. This music is right up his street and at the same time a profession of faith for him.” HAMBURGER ABENDBLATT


Nikolay Borchev Orfeo
Anna Bonitatibus Messagiera / Proserpina
Anna Stéphany  La Speranza
Johannette Zomer La Musica
Katja Stuber Eurydike
Guido Loconsolo Plutone
Miljenko Turk Apollo
Marek Rzepka Caronte

Balthasar Neumann Choir and Soloists
Balthasar Neumann Ensemble
Thomas Hengelbrock Concept, Stage and Musical Direction


Baden-Baden, Essen, Freiburg, München, Paris, Wien, Würzburg