First ‘true’ opera takes audiences back in time

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of the birth of Monteverdi, the composer’s most famous and well-loved opera is coming to a Melbourne stage, giving audiences a taste of how the art form started.

The Tale of Orpheus by Claudio Monteverdi will see the Italian composer’s 1607 Baroque masterpiece L’Orfeo - considered by many to be the first ‘true’ opera – brought to life with beautifully crafted period instruments and singing that will sound quite different to the opera of today.

With highly respected baritone David Greco in the role of Orpheus, and a cast of fine singers from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at The University of Melbourne, the production will be at North Melbourne’s Meat Market on September 7 and 8.

Artistic director Jane Davidson, who is also deputy director of the national ARC Centre for the History of Emotions, said The Tale of Orpheus was one of the most influential and beloved operas in the genre’s history.

“Monteverdi was a musical visionary and his L’Orfeo was really the first example of a fully formed opera, seamlessly blending theatrical drama and music,” Professor Davidson said.

“His talent for communicating raw emotion ensures the opera’s enduring appeal today and modern listeners will find the period instruments and early singing style intriguing.”

The Tale of Orpheus is produced by the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at The University of Melbourne in association with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.

Date:Thursday 7th and Friday 8th September,
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Meat Market, 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Bookings: Eventbrite, tickets $30/$15.

Visit the event page here.

Media contact: Emma Miller,, 0401 642 535