Opera Scotland

Orione L'Orione; Orion

Music

Pier Francesco Cavalli (born Crema, 14 February 1602; died Venice, 14 January 1676)

Text

Francesco Melosio.

Source

Original.

 

Premieres

First performance: Milan (Teatro Regio), 1653.     

First UK performance: Edinburgh (King's Theatre), 21 August 1984.

First performance in Scotland: As above.

Scottish Opera premiere: As above.

 

Background

By the end of Monteverdi's long career, Venice enjoyed performances of opera independent of the ducal courts that had staged performances earlier. This growth of a commercial theatrical culture was very unusual. The most successful composer at this time was Cavalli, whose operas are gradually being revived in performance and make thoroughly enjoyable entertainments. In Britain the first musicologist to prepare successful performing editions of some of them was Raymond Leppard, starting at Glyndebourne in 1967 with L'Ormindo, which was soon followed by La Calisto. His editions of L'Egisto and L'Orione opened at Santa Fe before moving to Scottish Opera. These stagings were all successful in showing that the works could be dramatically and musically viable, and also popular with audiences. Since then, further operas have been successfully revived in less elaborate realisations which are generally believed to be closer to early performance practice.

 

Main Characters

Diana, virgin goddess of the hunt (mezzo-soprano)

Filotero, Orion’s companion (baritone)

Vulcan, god of fire (bass)

Cupid, son of Venus (soprano)

Orion, the hunter, claiming descent from Neptune (tenor)

Venus, goddess of love (mezzo-soprano)

Aurora, goddess of the dawn (mezzo-soprano)

Titon, a mortal, husband of Aurora (baritone)

Apollo, the sun god, brother of Diana (tenor)

Neptune, god of the sea (bass)

Jove, father of the gods (tenor)

 

Plot Summary 

Diana and her nymphs are preparing for the Festival of Apollo, on Delos. They are horrified to see two men, Orion and Filotero, swimming ashore, but divert them away from their section of the island. Orion needs Apollo's help to restore his eyesight. However Cupid is able to do this himself. Venus hates her brother Apollo, and wishes to disrupt the festivities. She decides to make Diana fall in love with Orion. While Filotero and Orion sleep to recover their strength before leaving, Cupid fires an arrow at Diana which has the effect Venus desires. Diana feels guilty about her love for Orion, but he tries to persuade her to continue with it. Apollo, however, is furious that his sister should love a mortal, and he tricks her into killing Orion, when he is swimming in the sea. This rouses Neptune's anger and he raises a storm to destroy the island and the gods as punishment for killing his son. Jove finally restores peace by making Orion into a constellation.

The Cast

Amor
 Cupid, son of Venus
Amorettino
 youngest son of Venus
Apollo
 the sun god, brother of Diana
Aurora
 goddess of the dawn
Bronte
 a Cyclops
Diana
 virgin goddess of the hunt
Filotero
 Orion's companion
First Nymph
 
Jove
 father of the gods
Neptune
 god of the sea
Orion
 the hunter, claiming descent from Neptune
Second Nymph
 
Sterope
 a Cyclops
Titon
 a mortal, husband of Aurora
Venere
 Venus, goddess of love
Voice of Aeolus
 controller of the winds
Vulcano
 god of fire

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