Spectacular performance of Monteverdi's Orpheus in Mørdrup Kirke

Ole Josephsen, music reviewer (Helsingør Dagblad, 18 September, 2014)

A musical work, created over 400 years ago, can still have a message for modern man. This was proven by the instrumental and vocal ensemble Copenhagen Soloists Sunday afternoon with 15 musicians and 7 singers in Mørdrup Kirke.

The large audience was offered a rare experience, as the world's first opera, Monteverdi's "Orpheus" of 1607 was resurrected in this, Espergærde Music Society's first concert of the new season.

Monteverdi had herewith made scenic the Greek tragedy of Orpheus, who loses his beloved Euridice, wins her back, only to lose her again. It is the story of the hero, who defies the Gods, yet must learn, that such actions cannot go unpunished.

Mathias Hedegaard had the major role as Orpheus, and with his balanced and well-resonating tenor he expressed convincingly the hero's alternating moods, from the euphoric in the joy of love to Euridice, to the dramatic in the anger and grief over having lost her. His prayer to Charon in order to be sailed over to Hades "Possente spirito", was ornamented with finely controlled coleraturas and was no doubt the highlight of the opera.

Christina Larsson Malmberg was a beautiful sounding soprano in the role of Euridice. Anna Jobrant, light soprano, and Simone Rønn, dark alto, proved great virtues in the many roles sung, and in the male roles were Adam Riis, Erlend Tyrmi and Steffen Bruun, deep bass, who completed the spectrum of sound.

The internationally collated instrumental ensemble applied an arsenal of baroque instruments, for example dulcian, cornett, theorbo and gamba, and was well complemented by Mordrup Kirkes acoustics. Under Jonathan Ofir's flaming conducting, the 15 musicians with their heartfelt sense for baroque music were able to create the appropriate accompaniement and counterweight for the singers.

Jonathan Ofir deserves respect for the feat of setting up such a force of singers and players and make it all come together to a complete whole.

We were witness to a spectacular performance of Monteverdi's Orpheus.