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Masters of Monteverdi 'I Fagiolini' will mask L'Orfeo at the university / York Press

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MASTERS of Monteverdi's music, I Fagiolini, will combine singing, acting and live puppetry in tonight's staging of the Italian composer's first opera, L'Orfeo, in York. The 7.30pm performance at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York, will form the first evening concert of the 2019 York Early Music Festival, running from today to July 13. "In a festival focusing on the theme of Innovation: The Shock Of The New, L'Orfeo is a work that straddles the new world of baroque vocal expression and the older Renaissance traditions of court entertainment and madrigal, thus presenting the new form as a palatable mixture of the novel and the unfamiliar," says festival administrative director Delma Tomlin. "But it's also quite simply opera's first great masterpiece, a work of power, depth and beauty that after more than 400 years never fails to enthral."

Sometimes called La Favola d'Orfeo, Claudio Monteverdi's late Renaissance/early Baroque opera was premiered in the 1607 carnival season in Mantua, Italy. Now it will be presented bymusical director Robert Hollingworth, stage director Thomas Guthrie and designer Ruth Paton, with Matthew Long in the role of Orfeo and Jenni Harper as Euridice, accompanied by the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble.

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