Women in love: Gluck’s Orpheus as a source of romantic consolation in Vienna, Paris, and Stockholm

John A. Rice


Among those who witnessed early performances of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice were Princess Isabelle of Parma, Julie de Lespinasse, and Countess Sophie Fersen. Orpheus, and the music Gluck wrote for him, stirred up similar responses in these passionate young women, all of whom found in the protagonist's tragic plight consolation for own romantic yearning. This paper explores their emotional states, as documented in their letters, and offers some explanations for their identification with a male character from Greek mythology, as brought to life by Gluck's music and the men who sang it.


Opera; Gluck; Orfeo; Orpheus; Sensibility

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/ds-18688

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