Information about the opera
L' OPERA. L’ANIMA DEL FILOSOFO. COMPOSTA DA ME GIUSEPPE HAYDN MPRIA 1791. Later: ORFEO ED EURIDICE and finally: L’ANIMA DEL FILOSOFO OSSIA ORFEO ED EURIDICE.
Commissioned by the impresario John Gallini for the rebuilding of the King’s Theatre in London after a devastating fire.
L'anima del filosofo ossia Orfeo ed Euridice. Dramma per musica
Editor: Helmut Wirth; Reihe XXV, Band 13;
1974, G. Henle Verlag München
The opinion is still held that this wonderful opera is unfinished. This is an opinion that is neither well-founded nor does justice to the work. This misjudgement is based on the one hand on a letter from Haydn in which he writes of five acts (which were composed; he wrote two short acts at the end, which he also composed), and on the other hand probably more on the tragic ending of this opera, which was highly unusual at the time and which would not have been expected of Joseph Haydn. In the final dramatic action, the hero drinks from a poisoned cup, and as a musical conclusion, there is a chorus of bacchantes who are doomed to sink in a storm at sea. Those who doubt this are encouraged to consider the idea that Haydn was indeed looking for such endings. One should simply consider the development of opera, which was becoming increasingly serious. Those who want to stimulate the imagination should try to add something musical after this magical ending composed by Haydn and that’s before we mention the storyline.
However, certain omissions can be found in the surviving score and copies. There is an incorrect indication for the English horns, a tenor clef instead of a bass clef, and gaps in the notes here and there. This is certainly due to the inglorious end of this commissioned composition. Haydn had evidently no longer carried out the writing of the score in a consistent manner. The fact that a libretto was not printed is self-explanatory.
Initial ambiguities about the order of the titles were soon resolved in the Henle edition. A logical sequence could now be drawn up.
|Creonte||Re di Tebe, padre d'Euridice|
|Euridice||Figlia di Creonte e promessa s'Arideo|
|Genio||Messaggero di Sibilla|
|Corista I, II, III, IV|
|oboe||Anton Poschwa, Zacharias Pohl|
|horn||Johann Hollerrieder, Martin Rupp|
|violin/viola||Luigi Tomasini (cm), Joseph Dietzl, Franz Pauer und/oder Joseph Oliva, Anton Höld, Johann Dietzl, Joseph Purcksteiner (viola)|
|double bass||Carl Schiringer|
The libretto was written by Carlo Francesco Badini, based on the mythological story of Orpheus and Euridice from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Badini had previously appeared as a lyricist in connection with Haydn as the writer of Orlando paladino, which also served as the basis for Haydn’s opera of the same name, albeit revised by Nunziato Porta. The libretto has not survived, which is why it cannot be used for verification. This circumstance also made the urtext edition of the Henle score used for this project more difficult.
|2a.||Recitativo accompagnato Euridice Sventurata, che fo?|
Coro con Solo Euridice, Tenori, Bassi
Ferma il piede, o principessa!
|3a.||Recitativo accompagnato Euridice Che chiedete da me?|
|3b.||Aria Euridice Filomena abbandonata|
|4.||Recitativo Coristi [I, II, III], Orfeo, Euridice Cieli! Soccorso! Aita!|
|5a.||Recitativo accompagnato Orfeo Rendete a questo seno|
|5b.||Aria Orfeo Cara speme! Alme di scoglio!|
|6.||Recitativo Un Corista [I], Euridice, Orfeo O prodigio, o stupor|
|7.||Coro Tenori, Bassi O poter dell'armonia!|
|8.||Recitativo Creonte, Coristi [I, Il, III] Ah! chi sa dirmi|
|9.||Aria Creonte Il pensier sta negli oggetti|
|10.||Recitativo Orfeo, Euridice, Creonte Grazie agli dei|
|11.||Duetto Euridice, Orfeo Come il foco allo splendore|
|12.||Coro Amorini (Soprano I, II) Finché circola il vigore|
|13.||Recitativo Orfeo, Euridice Adorata consorte, or io conosco|
Coro con Duetto Euridice, Orfeo, Amorini (Soprano I, II)
Finché circola il vigore
|14b.||Recitativo accompagnato Euridice, Orfeo Numi, che ascolto!|
|15.||Recitativo Un Corista [IV], Euridice Ecco, signor, la principessa|
|16a.||Recitativo accompagnato Euridice Dov'è l'amato bene?|
|16b.||Cavatina Euridice Del mio core il voto estremo|
|17.||Recitativo Corista [IV] Con Euridice estinte|
|18a.||Recitativo accompagnato Orfeo Dov'è quell'alma audace|
|18b.||Aria Orfeo In un mar d'acerbe pene|
|19.||Recitativo Corista [V], Creonte Euridice, signor|
|20.||Aria Creonte Mai non sia inulto|
|21.||Coro Vergini (Soprano I, Il), Uomini (Basso I, Il) Ah, sposo infelice!|
|22.||Recitativo Orfeo, Creonte Al cielo te ne voli|
|23.||Coro Vergini (Soprano I, Il) Ah, sposo infelice !|
|24.||Recitativo Creonte, Corista [V] Che sarà mai d'Orfeo?|
|25.||Aria Creonte Chi spira e non spera|
|26.||Recitativo Orfeo, Genio Venerata Sibilla|
|27.||Aria Genio Al tuo seno fortunato|
|28.||Recitativo Orfeo Costanza a me si chiede?|
|29.||Coro Soprano, Alto, Tenore, Basso La giustizia in cor regina|
|30.||Recitativo Orfeo, Genio Dove mi guidi?|
|31.||Coro Soprano, Alto, Tenore, Basso Infelici ombre dolenti|
|32.||Recitativo Orfeo, Genio Che ascolto, oh numi!|
|33.||Coro di furie Tenori, Bassi Urli orrendi, disperati|
|34.||Recitativo Orfeo O signor, che all' ombre imperi|
|35.||Coro Tenori, Bassi Trionfi oggi pietà|
|36.||Recitativo Pluto, Orfeo, Genio O della reggia mia|
|38.||Recitativo Orfeo, Genio Quai dolci e care note|
|39.||Coro Soprano, Alto, Tenore, Basso Son finite le tue pene|
|40.||Recitativo Genio, Euridice, Orfeo Sovvengati la legge|
|41a.||Recitativo accompagnato Orfeo Perduto un'altra volta|
|41b.||Aria Orfeo Mi sento languire|
|42.||Recitativo Orfeo Barbaro infido amore|
|43.||Coro di Baccanti Soprano, Alto Vieni, vieni, amato Orfeo|
|44.||Recitativo Orfeo, Baccante Perfide, non turbate di più|
Coro con Recitativo accompagnato Orfeo, Baccanti (Soprano, Alto)
Bevi, bevi in questa tazza
|45b.||Coro Baccanti (Soprano, Alto) Andiamo, amiche, andiamo|
|45c.||Coro Baccanti (Soprano, Alto) Oh, che orrore!|
Euridice, who has been promised to Arideo as a wife by her father Creonte, has fled to a forest to avoid marrying the detested man. A horde of monsters wants to overpower and sacrifice her to the furies on a pyre that has already been prepared. Orfeo rushes to her aid and soothes the attackers with his singing and playing of the lyre. When Euridice’s father learns that Orfeo has rescued his daughter, he decides to break the promise made to Arideo and no longer oppose the union of Euridice and Orfeo. The couple celebrate their happiness.
Euridice and Orfeo swear eternal love to each other. Startled by the noise, Orfeo leaves his beloved to find out the cause. A follower of Arideo breaks in and wants to kidnap Euridice. She manages to escape but is killed by the bite of a poisonous snake. Arideo’s follower proclaims that honour now calls for vengeance on Euridice’s faithless father. On his return, Orfeo finds his dead lover and laments their fate. A messenger brings the news of Euridice’s death to Creonte, who in turn swears revenge on Arideo.
Even Creonte is touched by Orfeo’s lament. When Orfeo invokes Sibilla, a Genio appears whom Orfeo should follow into the underworld if he wants to see his companion again, but he must restrain his desire and show bravery. The most effective consolation is offered by the magic potion of philosophy. Orfeo affirms his unbreakable love and steadfastness.
At the entrance to the underworld, they meet the unburied and the furies. Moved by Orfeo’s pleas, Pluto grants them entry so that Orfeo can bring back his beloved. Pluto’s entourage warn him not to look at Euridice if he doesn’t want to lose her again. When he nevertheless looks at Euridice, Genio leaves him with the words ‘You are lost’, and Orfeo laments his loss.
When the bacchantes try to win back Orfeo to love and pleasure, he renounces love and women. The bacchantes give him the poisoned nectar of love and Orfeo dies. Now they want to seek refuge on the island of pleasure, but a storm sinks them.28