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Christoph Willibald Gluck

Christoph Willibald Gluck (Composer)

Born: 2nd July 1714, Berching, Germany

Died: 15th November 1787, Vienna

Nationality: German

Christoph Willibald (Ritter von) Gluck was a composer of Italian and French opera in the early classical period. Born in the Upper Palatinate and raised in Bohemia, both part of the Holy Roman Empire, he gained prominence at the Habsburg court at Vienna. There he brought about the practical reform of opera's dramaturgical practices for which many intellectuals had been campaigning. With a series of radical new works in the 1760s, among them Orfeo ed Euridice and Alceste, he broke the stranglehold that Metastasian opera seria had enjoyed for much of the century. Gluck introduced more drama by using simpler recitative and cutting the usually long da capo aria.

Further Reading: Gluck

Recording of the Week, Philippe Jaroussky sings Gluck's Orfeo

The French countertenor placates the Furies with singing of celestial purity on this world premiere recording of the 1774 Neapolitan version of Gluck's most popular opera.

Interview, Sonia Prina on Gluck

Katherine talks to the Italian contralto about Heroes in Love, released on Glossa this month.

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