**** « Throughout, the writing is rich, unusual yet immediate. Orpheus’s journey through the underworld in search of Eurydice is memorably expressive. »

The descent of Orpheus into the underworld, a familiar subject taken from Ovid and celebrating the power of music, was turned into a two-act opera around 1686-7 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, better known for his sacred music. This short drama, possibly unfinished, was written for the 10 singers employed by Charpentier’s Parisian patron, Madame de Guise – here the Ensemble Correspondances directed by Sébastien Daucé. Orphée is cast for countertenor (Robert Getchell), offset by the dark colours of three accompanying bass viols. Throughout, the writing is rich, unusual yet immediate. Orpheus’s journey through the underworld in search of Eurydice is memorably expressive. Fiona Maddocks

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