Posterity remembers Carl Orff mainly as a one-trick pony, the trick being that gaudy, bawdy faux-medieval fresco we know as Carmina Burana. But Orff’s output was vast, full of riches few these days bother to explore. The title of his opera Die Kluge has been rendered as “The Wise Woman,” which is somewhat misleading; klug doesn’t mean “wise,” and besides, “woman” makes the character in question sound much too grown-up. She’s a farmer’s daughter with the fairy-tale luck and pluck not only to win a capricious king’s heart but to keep it. Call her sharp, if you like, or a smart cookie. In any case, the score is a gem, with more of a twist than one expects. —M.G.
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