Monteverdi’s L’ORFEO
Orpheus in the Underworld
April 13April 18, 2018


The ancient myth of the singer Orpheus, who storms the gates of hell to rescue his beloved, still rings true today. Monteverdi’s L’ORFEO was the groundbreaking operatic achievement of the 17th century. It receives impassioned treatment by Jeannette Sorrell and her hand-picked company of artists and dancers in this semi-staged production. Projected English supertitles.

“Wonderfully vivacious and gripping… Sorrell and company delivered Monteverdi’s masterpiece with superb energy and clarity…. An exhilarating evening.”

PRE-CONCERT TALK by Professor Thomas Forrest Kelly of Harvard University, one hour before each performance.

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Also catch this program in Ann Arbor, San Francisco (Berkeley), and Sonoma! see AF’s complete tour schedule…[/box]

Hear the Music

Karim Sulayman with Apollo’s Fire
(tracks from the forthcoming CD)

Toccata (opening procession)

Vi Ricorda bosch’ ombrosi (Wedding scene)

Rosa cel ciel (Wedding scene)

Qual honor (Orfeo leads Euridice out of Hades)


PROLOGUE. The personification of Music addresses the noble audience (i.e. the court of Mantua) and introduces the subject of Orfeo, the famous singer of antiquity.

ACT I. The fields of Thrace. Nymphs and shepherds are gathered to celebrate the wedding of Orfeo and Euridice. A shepherd invites the party to sing to Hymen, the goddess of marriage, for her blessings. Following a dance, a shepherd asks Orfeo to delight them with a song. Orfeo sings a hymn of thanks to his father Apollo and his image, the sun. He then expresses his love to Euridice, who had formerly scorned him. She sings of her own love for him, and the dance resumes. A shepherd calls them to give thanks at the temple, and the nymphs and shepherds present prayerful meditations on the transitory nature of sorrow and joy.

ACT II. A continuation of the previous scene. A shepherd invites Orfeo to rest under the trees, and they sing in praise of the stream, meadows, and the woods where Pan, the god of shepherds, wanders. The merry company is interrupted by the sudden arrival of the messenger Sylvia, who brings the devastating news that Euridice has died, having been bitten by a snake. Orfeo vows to descend into Hades and bring Euridice back to earth. With bitter lamentations, the nymphs and shepherds leave to pay their final homage to the dead Euridice.


ACT III. The banks of the River Styx, gateway to Hades. Orfeo has found his way guided by Hope (Speranza), but she must abandon him there. Orfeo cries out at her departure, and startles Caronte, the oarsman. He demands that Orfeo turn back. In a magical aria, Orfeo draws on all his musical powers in an attempt to win over Caronte, but to no avail. Finally, Orfeo’s music soothes Caronte to sleep. Orfeo steals the oarsman’s boat and crosses the river.

ACT IV. The court of Pluto in Hades. Proserpina, Pluto’s wife, has heard Orfeo’s song and is moved to plead with her husband on Orfeo’s behalf. Pluto cannot resist Proserpina, and orders that Orfeo may have Euridice back, provided he does not look back as she follows him out of Hades. Orfeo leads Euridice joyfully from Hades, in a fatal moment of doubt and fear, looks back at her. Euridice is taken back to the dead forever, and Orfeo is expelled from Hades.

ACT V. The fields of Thrace. Orfeo, on the edge of madness, wanders in hopeless despair, asking the mountains and valleys to weep with him. He hears his echo and begins to converse with it. In bitterness, he rejects all womankind, since none are as perfect as Euridice. [From this point on, Monteverdi’s music is lost but the original 1607 libretto continues as follows.] Orfeo is overheard by a band of wild Bacchant women, worshippers of Bacchus. He hides himself. The women, enraged by his rejection of all womankind, burst on stage in pursuit. While hunting Orfeo, they sing praises to Bacchus and celebrate his gift of wine. At the end of their song, Orfeo is discovered. A stylized battle dance ensues, in which Orfeo meets his demise at the women’s frenzied hands.[divider]



These concerts are generously sponsored by

And also made possible by major grants from

Friday, April 13, 2018, 8:00PM
CLEVELAND Institute of Music (Kulas Hall)
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 8:00PM
CLEVELAND Institute of Music (Kulas Hall)
Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 7:30PM
St. Raphael Catholic Church, BAY VILLAGE
Karim Sulayman,Orfeo
Erica Schuller,Euridice & La Musica
Amanda Powell,Messagiera & Proserpina
Mischa Bouvier,Plutone
Jonathan Woody,Caronte
Carlos Fittante,dancer
Apollo’s Singers
Jeannette Sorrell,conductor & harpsichord
Sophie Daneman,stage director
Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld, 1861 (oil on canvas), Corot, Jean Baptiste Camille (1796-1875) Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX / funds provided by Agnes Cullen Arnold Endowment Fund / Bridgeman Images

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“The U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band.” –CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE (UK)


is consistently praised for his sensitive musicianship, vivid portrayals, and beautiful voice. With a vast repertoire that spans from the Renaissance to contemporary music, he has firmly established himself as a sophisticated and versatile artist of his generation. Recent highlights include engagements at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Aldeburgh Festival and Snape Proms, the Casals Festival, Aspen Music Festival and the International Bach Festival. Mr. Sulayman recently completed three seasons at the Marlboro Music Festival collaborating with Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode, and continues to focus on championing vocal chamber music under the auspices of Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Brooklyn Chamber Music Society, Cleveland ChamberFest, among other esteemed presenters, and earlier this season performed programs of French chamber works at the Roman River Festival in the UK which were recorded by the BBC. Also in the 2016-2017 season he debuted with Houston Grand Opera as Albert in the world premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s Some Light Emerges.

This season he looks forward to debuts with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Messiah, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra as Testo in Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, his professional acting debut in Karin Coonrod’s groundbreaking production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (Off Broadway), and to a US national tour as the title role in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo with Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra, along with the release of his debut solo album, Songs of Orpheus, of 17th-century Italian composers on the AVIE label. Next season he plays the role of Claudio Monteverdi at Stockholm’s beloved Drottningholms Slottsteater in the world premiere of The Voice of Europa. He also appears and sings “I go on” from Mass in the upcoming ARTE documentary Leonard Bernstein – The Composer, to be aired throughout Europe in the summer of 2018 and subsequently released on DVD.

His growing discography includes the title role in Handel’s Acis and Galatea, and two releases for NAXOS in works of Philidor and Grétry, as well as the release of Sephardic Journey with Apollo’s Fire on AVIE which debuted at the Number 2 slot on the Billboard World Music Chart and Number 7 on the Classical Chart. He is also featured on the album of Jonathan Dawe’s 21st-century chamber works, Piercing are the Darts, on the Furious Artisans label and on the future EP release of Matt Frey’s new chamber opera 111 Heavy with the ensemble Hotel Elefant.

Mr. Sulayman’s musical education began with violin studies at age three, and years as a boy alto soloist, which included performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti and the St. Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Rice University and also studied improvisation at the Second City Training Center in Chicago.



Praised for her lively personality, abundant charm, and luscious vocalism (Chicago Tribune), soprano Erica Schuller is a versatile performer, bringing committed artistry to a broad musical repertory. Her particular affinity for Baroque repertoire has brought her increasing attention from some of the country’s finest Early Music ensembles. Upcoming engagements include roles with The Boston Early Music Festival and a concert appearance with The Haymarket Opera Company’s Summer Workshop.

This past season, Ms. Schuller performed leading and supporting operatic roles with The Boston Early Music Festival, The Haymarket Opera Company and Opera Siam. In Boston, Ms. Schuller performed the roles of La Fortuna and Damigella in the 2015 Festival centerpiece opera L’Incoronazione di Poppea, and was praised for bringing beauty and bearing to her roles (Boston Globe). As Oriana in The Haymarket Opera Company’s production of Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula, Chicago Classical Review praised “her warm, agile soprano, full of passion and depth.” She also created the roles of Joan Strasinsky and Princess in the world premiere of the newly composed opera The Snow Dragon by award winning novelist and composer Somtow Sucharitkul, and was described as “ethereal” by Broadway World Magazine. She reprised these roles in Thailand with Opera Siam. Ms. Schuller also made her debut performance with Great Lakes Baroque this season, under the direction of renowned harpsichordist Jory Vinikour. Additional performances include a recital of English Baroque lute songs with The Church of Beethoven, a presentation of Couperin’s Leçons de Ténèbres through St. Chrysostom’s Church Concert Series in Chicago, and engagements with Second City Musick and Bella Voce ensembles.



has been praised as “the star of the evening” (Seen and Heard International, UK) and “charismatic and theatrically arresting” (San Francisco Chronicle). A highly versatile musician, she is at home in repertoire from Monteverdi to Mozart to Ravel, and has toured internationally as soloist in baroque opera, oratorio, and crossover folk programs. Her tour performances with GRAMMY®-winning baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire (Jeannette Sorrell) include such venues as the National Concert Hall of Ireland in Dublin, the Irish National Opera House, the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the National Gallery in Washington, and Zellerbach Hall in San Francisco, among others. Her 2019 debut as Messiah soloist with the Calgary Symphony won kudos as “the soloist of the night… singing to perfection.”

As a recording artist, Ms Powell has been featured on several Apollo’s Fire albums including Sugarloaf Mountain, Sephardic Journey, and Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain, all of which received rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic and debuted in the top ten on the BILLBOARD Classical Chart. Her 2015 solo debut album, Beyond Boundaries, is an intimate program of folk, jazz, and global music. She is a fluent improvisor and has collaborated with such artists as Bobby McFerrin and Sheila Jordan.



Baritone Mischa Bouvier has been praised for his “extraordinary and varied background” and “rare vocal and interpretive gifts” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “beautiful tone” ([Q]onStage], and “rich timbre” and “fine sense of line” (New York Times). He continues to impact audiences with his keen musicality and remarkable communicative ability.
Mischa’s recent performances have included the New York premiere of Jocelyn Hagen’s amass with Musica Sacra at Lincoln Center; Arvo Pärt’s Passio (Evangelisti) for the “collected stories” series at Zankel Hall, curated by David Lang and conducted by Julian Wachner; Apollo in Handel’s Apollo e Dafne and Polyphemus in Handel’s Acis and Galatea with the American Bach Soloists; the role of Dr. P in Michael Lyman’s opera The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and New York Live Arts; Fauré’s Requiem and Vaughan Williams’s Five Mystical Songs with the Princeton Glee Club; Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Iván Fischer and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Stern Auditorium, and with Helmuth Rilling and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico at the Festival Casals; and recitals throughout the United States, and in Europe and Asia.

Other highlights include Handel’s Messiah with the American Bach Soloists at Grace Cathedral and the Mondavi Center; the premiere of Bryan Page’s song cycle The Edith Poems at Strathmore; Bach’s St. John Passion (Pilate and arias) with the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys under the direction of the late John Scott; the role of Lucifer in Handel’s La Resurrezione with the Helicon Ensemble at the Morgan Library and Yale University; the role of Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Opera in the Heights and Bronx Opera; the premiere of songs by several living Swedish composers with the Mirror Visions Ensemble in Paris; the role of Alwan in Mohammed Fairouz’s opera Sumeida’s Song at Zankel Hall; performances with the Alabama Symphony (Messiah), the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (Brahms’s Requiem), the Colorado Symphony (Messiah) and the Stamford Symphony (Mozart’s Requiem); and a Boston Symphony Hall debut singing the role of Jigger Craigin in a semi-staged performance of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops.

Mischa was born and raised in Alabama. He rides horses, likes to bush hog, and co-owns Pignut BBQ in Berlin.



Called “charismatic” and “riveting,” by the New York Times, bass-baritone Jonathan Woody is a sought-after performer of early and new music across North America, making recent appearances with historically-informed orchestras such as Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Boston Early Music Festival, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and Bach Collegium San Diego. A dedicated ensemble and chamber artist, Jonathan belongs to the innovative all-male Trident Ensemble and to the Grammy®-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and has collaborated with New York Polyphony, New York Baroque Incorporated, Antioch Chamber Ensemble and the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia in recent seasons. An avid performer of new music, Jonathan has premiered or performed several recent works, including Ted Hearne’s The Source (2014) and works by Missi Mazzoli and Zachary Wadsworth, and was a 2015-2016 Vocal Fellow for American Opera Projects’ Composers and the Voice forum. Competition and festival credits include Tafelmusik Vocal Competition, Carmel Bach Festival and Oregon Bach Festival vocal fellowships, and operatic credits include appearances with Opera Lafayette, Gotham Chamber Opera, and Beth Morrison Projects,. Recording credits include New York Polyphony’s Roma Æterna (BIS Records) and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street’s Israel in Egypt and Missa Gentis Humanae (Musica Omnia).


“Under the inspired leadership of Jeannette Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire has become one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles, causing one to hear baroque material anew.”

Jeannette Sorrell is recognized internationally as one of today’s most creative early-music conductors. She has been credited by the UK’s BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE for forging “a vibrant, life-affirming approach to the re-making of early music… a seductive vision of musical authenticity.”

Hailed as “one of the world’s finest Baroque specialists” (ST. LOUIS DISPATCH), Sorrell was one of the youngest students ever accepted to the prestigious conducting courses of the Aspen and the Tanglewood music festivals.  She studied conducting under Robert Spano, Roger Norrington and Leonard Bernstein, and harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam. She won both First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the 1991 Spivey International Harpsichord Competition, competing against over 70 harpsichordists from Europe, Israel, the U.S., and the Soviet Union.

Sorrell founded Apollo’s Fire in 1992. Since then, she and the ensemble have built one of the largest audiences of any baroque orchestra in North America. She has led AF in sold-out concerts at London’s BBC Proms and London’s Wigmore Hall, Madrid’s Royal Theatre (Teatro Real), the Grand Théâtre de l’Opéra in Bordeaux, the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), the Tanglewood Festival, Boston’s Early Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Library of Congress, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), among others.

As a guest conductor, Sorrell has worked with many of the leading American symphony orchestras and is represented by Columbia Artists Management (CAMI). In December she will make her Kennedy Center debut conducting the National Symphony in performances of Handel’s Messiah. Her 2013 debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as conductor and soloist in the complete Brandenburg Concertos was met with standing ovations every night, and hailed as “an especially joyous occasion” (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW). The same occurred with her recent debut with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where the TWIN CITIES PIONEER PRESS wrote, “Other masters of the [baroque] style have been paying visits, but none has summoned up as much energy, enthusiasm and excitement from the orchestra as Sorrell.” She has also appeared as conductor or conductor/soloist with the New World Symphony (Miami), the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis with the St. Louis Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), and has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra as guest keyboard artist. In 2014 Ms. Sorrell filled in for British conductor Richard Egarr on 5 days’ notice, leading the complete Brandenburg Concertos and playing the harpsichord solo in Brandenburg no. 5, for the closing concert of the Houston Early Music Festival. This summer she returns to Utah Symphony and makes her debut with Grand Teton Festival.

Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire have released 25 commercial CDs, of which seven have been bestsellers on the Billboard classical chart. Her recordings include the complete Brandenburg Concerti and harpsichord concerti of Bach (with Sorrell as harpsichord soloist and director), which was praised by the LONDON TIMES as “a swaggering version… brilliantly played by Sorrell.” She has also released four discs of Mozart, and was hailed as “a near-perfect Mozartian” by FANFARE RECORD MAGAZINE.  Other recordings include Handel’s Messiah, the Monteverdi Vespers and four creative crossover projects: Come to the River – An Early American Gathering (Billboard Classical #9, 2011); Sacrum Mysterium – A Celtic Christmas Vespers (Billboard Classical #11, 2012); Sugarloaf Mountain – An Appalachian Gathering (Billboard Classical #5, 2015); and Sephardic Journey – Wanderings of the Spanish Jews (Billboard World Music Chart #2 and Billboard Classical #5, Feb. 2016).

Sorrell has attracted national attention and awards for creative programming.  She holds an Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory, and honorary doctorate from Case Western University, two special awards from the National Endowment for the Arts for her work on early American music, and an award from the American Musicological Society, and two different awards from the Cleveland Arts Prize. Passionate about guiding the next generation of performers, Ms. Sorrell has led many baroque projects for students at Oberlin Conservatory and is a frequent guest coach at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She is the architect of AF’s highly successful Young Artist Apprentice Program, which has produced the majority of the leading young baroque professionals in the country today.


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