La morte d’Orfeo is a work of its composer’s youth, dedicated in 1619 to Alessandro Mattei, a close associate of Pope Paul V (Borghese) at Padua. We know nothing of the circumstances in which it was performed. Similarly, the author of the libretto is unidentified; it may have been Landi himself. However, we cannot but notice a number of major innovations unknown to his predecessors: Landi introduces genuinely comic elements into his opera, as well as substantial choral scenes which strongly contribute to its architecture. Yet this only heightens the drama and intensity of the tragic scenes. The style alternates between recitatives and strophic arias. All these elements combine to make up a work that appears as the true precursor of Baroque opera.
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