Baroque Opera and Contemporary Staging

Henry PurcellImage via Wikipedia

Many listeners are used to opera having grandiose costuming, lavish sets, and incredible theater design. Many Baroque operas (like Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and Monteverdi's Orfeo) have been revived using contemporary dance, sparse stage design, and unique artistic interpretation.

Review this version of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas

And review this version of Monteverdi's Orfeo:

How do these contemporary versions of Baroque operas compare to the composers' original intent? Do you think that these performances are successful? Why or why not?

A side note about opera, just like American musicals, an opera cannot be truly appreciated unless it is experienced in person. If you have not had an opportunity to see an opera in person or cannot afford opera tickets, contact your local university music department and find out when they have their next opera production. University tickets are usually quite minimal. You can also contact a professional opera company and see if any rehearsals are open to the public. Many professional music ensembles have open dress rehearsals (a run of the entire production in costume). If language is an issue, operas have been performed in many languages and most have subtitles.

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Mozart said…
One of my favourite baroque operas has to be Steffani's Niobe. It was only recently resurrected at the Schwetzingen festival. The new production in Covent Garden looka amazing, such gorgeous costumes and drama.

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