The version of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice sung last night at the Cadogan Hall was based on the original Italian version (1762) but included elements of a later French version. The various parts of nymphs, shepherds, Furies etc. were all sung by the ~150 strong London Concert Choir who produced a rich and well balanced sound which supported the main action very well. And considerable action there was, despite a main cast of only 3 characters.

Gerald Place
Gerald Place

The part of Orfeo was sung by counter-tenor Michael Chance, in fine form, bringing the entire opera alight with passion, drama, anguish and tenderness. Although this was a concert performance, full staging would almost have been superfluous, since here was all the acting needed - a few gestures here and there, even sitting still, but by far the greatest part of the acting was via his magnificent voice where every nuance served to enhance the text, culminating in the famous aria of grief "Che farò senza Euridice?”.

South African soprano Erica Eloff made delightful Euridice with a clear, expressive tone. Being a Baroque specialist, her voice worked very well with Michael Chance's and their brief duet was affectively touching. The only slightly distracting note was that she sang from the score, which generated something of a barrier during the discourse between the two lovers. Mary Nelson completed the trio of excellent soloists and the light but lively sound of the Counterpoint period ensemble, conducted by Mark Forkgen, rounded off a tremendous evening.