La morte d'Orfeo

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La morte d'Orfeo (The Death of Orpheus) is an opera in five acts by the Italian composer Stefano Landi. Dedicated to Alessandro Mattei, familiaris of Pope Paul V, it may have been first performed in Rome in 1619.[1] The work is styled a tragicomedia pastorale (pastoral tragicomedy). The libretto, which may be by the composer himself, is in part inspired by La favola d'Orfeo (1484) by Angelo Poliziano. Unlike Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and the earliest Florentine operas on the subject (Euridice by Peri and Caccini), Landi's opera contains comic elements and deals with a different episode from the life of the mythical singer.


Role Voice type
Orfeo (Orpheus) tenor
Teti (Thetis) alto castrato (en travesti)
Fato (Destiny) bass
L'Ebro bass
Aurora alto castrato (en travesti)
Mercurio (Mercury) tenor
Apollo tenor
Bacco (Dionysus) alto castrato
Nisa soprano castrato (en travesti)
Ireno tenor
Lincastro alto castrato
Furore (Wrath) bass
Calliope alto castrato (en travesti)
Fileno tenor
Caronte (Charon) bass
Euridice (Eurydice) soprano castrato (en travesti)
Giove (Jupiter) bass
Fosforo alto castrato
Three Euretti[2] soprano castratos/2 altos castratos


After Orpheus has failed to save his wife Eurydice from the underworld, he renounces wine and the love of women. This offends the god Bacchus who urges his female followers, the Maenads, to kill Orpheus. The enraged Maenads tear him apart. The gods want the dead Orpheus to join them on Olympus but Orpheus wants to be reunited with Eurydice in Hades. Only after the god Mercury shows him that, having drunk the waters of Lethe, Eurydice no longer remembers her husband, does Orpheus agree to ascend to Olympus.



  1. ^ Herzoeg, Silvia (1999). Stefano Landi: La morte d'Orfeo. A-R Editions. pp. vii.
  2. ^ Euretto means "little Eurus" (i.e. little wind).
  3. ^ "Stefano Landi: La morte d'Orfeo". Presto Classical. Retrieved 17 June 2020.


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