Few works have had such a profound influence on the development of opera as Christoph Willibald Gluck’s »Orfeo ed Euridice«, which premiered in Vienna in 1762. It exemplifies a whole host of contemporary operatic reforms. The traditional »opera seria« was challenged and to a certain extent superseded by Gluck’s »azione teatrale«, which emphasised natural, authentic expression by the characters. The opera tells the story of Orpheus, who charms the gods of the underworld with his song in order to persuade them to bring his beloved Eurydice back to life. The myth of Orpheus has been one of the most popular themes in opera from the genre’s origins right through to the present day. Gluck’s version presented the story in a completely new way, with an unprecedented dramatic realism that allowed audiences to enter deeply into the characters’ emotional worlds.