Today in opera history marks the premiere of Carl Orff‘s Carmina Burana, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany in 1937. Not precisely an opera, it is more correctly defined as a scenic cantata and is based on 24 of the poems found in the medieval collection Carmina Burana.
The first time I heard “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana, I was absolutely mystified and stupified. It was 1981, and of course, I’m not going to tell you how old I was. But I will say that I was watching the major motion picture Excalibur in the theater. Suddenly, King Arthur and his knights ride onto the battlefield, underscored by Orff’s “O Fortuna.” En scene, the music terrified me then and has haunted me ever since.
Thank goodness for this video (below), brought to my attention by @verbiagent which demystifies the entire song. If you find Carmina Burana haunting or at the very least daunting, watch and nevermore be haunted nor daunted: