On May 26th and 27th in the MacMillan Theatre there’s a chance to see Haydn’s rarely performed Orfeo: L’anima del filosofo. It was composed for London in 1791 but was shut down during rehearsals because the Lord Chamberlain’s office thought it subversively supportive of enlightenment values at a time when Pitt’s government was cracking down brutally on pro French Revolutionary sentiment in the UK.
It finally made it to the stage in 1951 in Florence with Maria Callas as Euridice. It’s had a few runs in Europe since, including Cecilia Bartoli’s Covent Garden debut, but can scarcely be called a “staple of the repertoire”. Now it’s being given its North American premiere by a collaboration between the music schools at University of Toronto and McGill University led by Dr. Caryl Clarke.
The title role will be sung by Asitha Tennekoon with a cast that includes Lindsay McIntyre, Parker Clements and Maeve Palmer. The McGill Baroque Orchestra will be in the pit with Dorian Bandy conducting. Stage direction is by Nico Krell.
It’s free but ticketed: https://orfeotoronto.eventbrite.com
There’s also a symposium organised by Dr. Clarke exploring the intricacies of the opera and featuring 18th-century music specialists Emily Dolan (Brown University) and Deirdre Loughridge (Northeastern University). It’s n the 27th from 10am to 1pm in Walter Hall and it too is free but ticketed: https://orfeosymposium.eventbrite.com