Gluck's Il Parnaso Confuso this Sunday 8/30 at 8PM on The Lyric Stage
It's January of 1865 in Vienna. The Archduke Joseph is planning to marry, and as a surprise gift, Christoph Gluck agrees to write an opera for the occasion. The result was the one act Il Parnaso Confuso, Confusion on Parnasus or Parnassus in Turmoil. The entire court watched as the Archbishop's younger brother, Prince Leopold, conducted the performance which features four soprano roles, all of which were taken by four daughters from the Archduke's first marriage. These were the archduchesses Maria Amalia, Maria Elisabeth, Maria Carolina, and Maria Josepha. Their youngest sister watched on - perhaps not as talented as her older sisters, perhaps too young to participate. We know her as Marie Antoinette.
The opera was a success, and this week we feature Il Parnaso Confuso on the Lyric Stage. The confusion on Parnasas is set up when Apollo commissions the four muses to create an entertainment for the marriage of some famous people. The muses are excited, then doubtful that they can do it, then they argue. Apollo comes back, tells them to get busy, and so they finally get the job done.
Melpomene is sung soprano Julianne Baird, Apollo by soprano Danielle Munsell Howard, Euterpe by soprano Mary Ellen Callahan, and Erato by countertenor Marshall Coid. Rudolph Palmer conducts the New York ensemble, The Queen's Chamber Orchestra.