The University of Iowa

OSF lecture Oct. 27 on Peri's 'Euridice' opens UI Re-Creation conference

October 12th, 2011

In advance of the UI Martha Ellen Tye Opera Theater’s production of Jacopo Peri’s Euridice, the Opera Studies Forum, a part of International Programs, is sponsoring a talk titled “Orpheus and the Origins of Opera: Looking Back at Peri’s Euridice” on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 5 p.m. in Room 2520D, University Capitol Centre, presented by Wendy Heller. This event is free and open to the public.

Jacopo Peri’s Euridice (1600) has always had a curious place in the history of opera. First produced in Florence as part of the wedding festivities for the marriage of Henry IV to Maria de Medici, Euridice is the most enduring result of operatic experiments carried out by Peri, Giulio Caccini, and the poet Ottavio Rinuccini under the auspices of the Florentine nobleman and harpsichordist Jacopo Corsi.

Nevertheless, that Claudio Monteverdi also chose the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice as the basis of his own L’Orfeo (1607) has necessarily relegated Euridice to a subsidiary role, garnering praise more for its apparent influence on Monteverdi’s opera than for its intrinsic musical value.

Taking account of the representation of the Orpheus tale in art and literature in late sixteenth-century Florence, Heller’s talk will explore the musical richness of Peri’s Euridice on its own terms and the ways in which its creators managed to invent something entirely modern while ostensibly emulating the ancients.

Wendy Heller specializes in the study of 17th- and 18th-century opera from interdisciplinary perspectives, with particular emphasis on gender and sexuality, art history, and the classical tradition.

This talk is part of a larger UI conference, “Re-Creation: Musical Reception of Classical Antiquity.”

For more information, visit or contact Rob Ketterer at

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2011 at 2:31 pm