L'Orfeo is a late Renaissance/early Baroque opera, by Claudio Monteverdi, with a libretto by Alessandro Striggio. It is based on the Greek legend of Orpheus, and tells the story of his descent to Hades and his fruitless attempt to bring his dead bride Eurydice back to the living world. It was written in 1607 for a court performance during the annual Carnival at Mantua. While the honour of the first ever opera goes to Jacopo Peri's Dafne, and the earliest surviving opera is Euridice (also by Peri), L'Orfeo has the honour of being the earliest surviving opera that is still regularly performed today.
Orfeo – Anthony Rolfe Johnson
Euridice – Julianne Baird
La Musica – Lynne Dawson
Messaggiera – Anne Sofie von Otter
The Monteverdi Choir
The English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner - Concductor