Students and staff from the Queensland Conservatorium will bring to life Monteverdi’s 400-year-old opera ”L’Orfeo” as part of the Queensland Music Festival this month.

Head of Opera Gregrory Massingham (pictured) who plays the title role, said L’Orfeo was first performed in 1607 and widely considered as the first true opera in the history of music.

“Since the opera celebrates Orpheus, the mythical god of music, it is fitting that we join in the celebration of the power of music in our lives, during Conservatorium’s 50th anniversary year,” he said.

Directed by Caroline Stacey, one of Australia’s most experienced theatre directors, the cast is a mixture of professionals, alumni and current students.

The production will be conducted by one of Australia’s most respected musicians, Marshall McGuire whose early music ensemble Ludivico’s Band will provide the basis of the orchestra. This core group will be supported by international specialists as well as staff and student instrumentalists from the Conservatorium.

“Audiences are in for an orchestral treat. The band manifests a wide and rarely heard colour palate of ancient instruments such as cornetti, suckbuts and theorbos,” Mr Massingham said.

“Cornetti, as the name suggests, is a horn-shaped instrument with a mouth piece similar to those used in the modern trumpet, while the sackbut is an ancient relative of the modern trombone.

“Two cornetti and five sackbuts are called for in Monteverdi’s score. The theorbo is the most exotic looking of all the instruments in the ensemble. It belongs to the lute family but is distinguished from its smaller cousins by its extended neck which accommodates the long and deep bass strings.”

String instruments, organs, harpsicords, recorders and harp also feature in the band.

The three performances of L’Orfeowill be held on July 23, 25 and 27 at the Masonic Temple (311 Ann Street) at 7.30pm.