‘L'Orfeo’, sometimes called ‘La favola d'Orfeo’, is a late Renaissance/early Baroque ‘favola in musica’, or opera, by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), 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.
‘L'Orfeo’ has the honour of being the earliest surviving opera that is still regularly performed today. And employs all the resources then known within the art of music, with particularly daring use of polyphony. In his published score Monteverdi lists around 41 instruments to be deployed, with distinct groups of instruments used to depict particular scenes and characters.
Slovenian arranger Gregor Kovacic compiled an orchestral suite from ‘L'Orfeo’ for Symphonic Band.