Hector Berlioz was enthralled by Gluck and heard his masterpieces Iphigénie en Tauride , Orphée , Alceste , and Armide in Paris .
The original Italian version of Orphée gives the title role to a castrato. Gluck rewrote the part for high tenor for the performances in France . In 1859 Berlioz arranged the opera so that Orpheus could be sung by the great mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot , with whom he worked closely at that time. He changed the formal design by dividing the work into four instead of three acts and placing the scenes in Hades and the Elysian Fields in separate acts.
He also changed certain sections of Orpheus’s part, mainly in the recitatives, and fundamentally reworked Gluck’s orchestration.
Berlioz’s version of Orphée was published as volume 22a of the New Berlioz Edition in 2005. Our new vocal score is based on that volume.