Vox Luminis – Lionel Meunier artistic direction – a nocte temporis – Reinoud Van Mechelen artistic direction
Cantate, Orphée descendant aux enfers, H 471 Marc-Antoine Charpentier
La descente d'Orphée aux enfers, H 488 Marc-Antoine Charpentier
The mythical Orpheus, who lost his Eurydice forever when he looked back as he was rescuing her from the underworld, has inspired everything from the most creative composers to the most dramatic compositions. Charpentier was the first French composer to set Ovid’s myth to music. In his cantata Orphée descendant aux enfers, three male voices sing of Orpheus’ sorrow. A few years later, Charpentier used the same material for his chamber opera La descente aux enfers. Vox Luminis and a nocte temporis descend into the deepest caverns of the underworld and lend a freshness to Charpentier’s two rarely-performed masterpieces.