First, I have to say: get it. Anyone who considers themselves into music, be it classical or contemporary, has to have this particular CD in their collection.Or even if you do not believe in music, but you believe in love - get it!
The story is simple and beautiful. Orphee embarks on a journey to the dark kingdom of shadows to search and bring back the love of his life, his dead wife Eurydice. So sweet is his music, so amazing is his voice that furies, ghosts and demons give in and return Eurydice to him. There is but one catch though. If he turns around and looks at his wife on their way home, he will lose her forever. And he does. And she is gone. But the ever-kind and fair Gods, swept by the power of Orphee's love, return Eurydice to him. At the end Love triumphs.
How beautiful is that?
And now of course, there is Gluck's music of unmatched harmony and beauty.
And Juan Diego Florez, as Orphee.
The real Orphee. You hear that voice and you believe that it could really make the shadows weep and bring the dead to life.
Of course, there is the beautiful and famous Objet de mon amour, and even a much more famous J'ai perdu mon Eurydice that he sings even more beautifully that on his earlier CD, even though you probably wonder how that can be possible. His voice reaches incredible sheerness and subtlty on the one hand, and on the other hand embelishes the aria with the deepness of lower notes and darker tones.
This is Orphee who loves like a boy, but fights for his love like a man.
However, my biggest discovery last night was Laissez-vous toucher! My God, has anything ever written about love been more about love?
Orphee plays his lyre and sings this aria, imploring the furies, ghosts and demons to let him through to his beloved. Of course, they say no at the beginning, but as he sings and plays, their no grows softer and quiter and finally, they allow him in. This is an amazing aria and I swear to you all, it sounds like Juan Diego sings every possible and impossible note in the world there. He sings his heart out, and before you know it, together with the most overpowering music, his voice brings tears into your eyes.
I went to bed at 1:00 and do not regret it. Those tears were the tears of joy that only good music can bring. Now I am very inspired to learn more about Gluck and this opera in particular.
P.S. If you listen to the opening of Laissez-vous toucher, let me know if the beginning of the Moonlight Sonata comes to mind. I was a bit struck. Beethoven must have listened to a lot of Gluck. But who could blame him for doing that? Once you discover Gluck, you are officially hooked!