Orphée et Eurydice
Orphée et Eurydice
(Orpheus and Eurydice)by Christoph Willibald Gluck
SEPTEMBER 23 – OCTOBER 15
Sung in French with projected English translations
Featuring The Joffrey Ballet
Orphée et Eurydice Opera Overview
One of opera’s most beautiful masterpieces, Gluck’s exquisite drama introduces us to Orpheus, the poet and musician whose every word and note communicate the most overwhelming love for his Eurydice. Refusing to accept her death, he courageously journeys to the Underworld to bring her back to life. The music reaches true heights of eloquence and emotion. Lyric presents Orphée et Eurydice in the Paris version, which contains thrilling ballet sequences that will come to vivid life under the direction and choreography of the legendary John Neumeier. This highly-anticipated production marks Lyric’s first collaboration with The Joffrey Ballet.
“To hear [Gluck’s] songful art pour out uninterrupted…[is] to understand the overwhelming power of melody.”
– The New York Times
– The New York Times
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes with 1 intermission
Photo: Todd Rosenberg / Isle of the Dead by Böcklin-Design
Orphée et Eurydice Opera Resources
Join us in the theater one hour before the curtain rises for a free, 30-minute preview talk about the opera. Learn more about pre-opera talks.
SynopsisOrpheus’s wife, Eurydice, has died and has been sent to the Underworld. Orpheus is given the chance to bring her back to life under one condition: he must not look at Eurydice during the journey. Orpheus faces the many challenges of the Underworld and retrieves Eurydice, being careful not to look at her, but Eurydice refuses to follow him believing he no longer loves her. Orpheus must decide between love and life in this story featuring riveting music, drama, and dance.
Audio HighlightsChristoph Willibald Gluck
Croft, Delunsch; Les Musiciens du Louvre, cond. Minkowski. Courtesy of Universal Music Group.
“Objet de mon amour"
“Viens, Viens, Euridice"
commentary by Anthony Freud in collaboration with Nicholas Ivor Martin
(right click and "Save Target As" / "Save Link As")
Lyric’s general director Anthony Freud, a great champion of creative crosstown partnerships, chose Orphée et Eurydice for the first-ever production by Lyric with The Joffrey Ballet. To create the new production, Freud engaged the legendary choreographer John Neumeier, longtime artistic director of the Hamburg Ballet.
Here is John Neumeier to share the story with you. The legendary dancer and choreographer, a native of Milwaukee who has lived and worked in Germany for decades, plays five key roles in Lyric’s new production: director, choreographer, scenic designer, costume designer, and lighting designer.
We open the season with Orphée et Eurydice, Gluck’s glorious retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus. What a moving story this is, with Orpheus courageously journeying to the underworld to bring his beloved wife back to earth.
Music for Orphée et Eurydice furnished through an arrangement with Universal Music Group.
© 2017/18 Lyric Opera Commentaries Original sound recordings of musical excerpts used by permission of Warner Music Group. All rights reserved. Recording & Production services provided by Mark Travis.
Lyric Opera Commentaries are sponsored by the Patrick G. and Shirley Welsh Ryan Foundation in memory of their parents.
Photos: Todd Rosenberg/Isle of the Dead by Böcklin-Design, Kiran West/Hamburg Ballet, EPA/Kay Nietfeld/Shutterstock
Orphée et Eurydice Synopsis
Orphée, a choreographer, rehearses his new ballet, The Isle of the Dead – inspired by the painting of Arnold Böcklin. Orphée’s wife Eurydice, the company’s
temperamental star performer, is to dance the principal role. She arrives late – they quarrel. Furious, Eurydice leaves the rehearsal.
An accident – Eurydice is dead. Friends and passersby mourn the sudden loss. In shock and tortured by grief and regret, Orphée sadly recalls his wedding. In despair, he suffers a breakdown. His assistant, Amour, comforts him, suggesting the mythical journey of Orpheus into the Underworld.
In his madness, Orphée imagines himself in Hades, where the Furies angrily block his to attempt to pass through the Underworld. He begs them to pity him, explaining that if they had suffered as he has done, they would not be so indifferent. Calmed by Orphée, the Furies allow him to enter Elysium.
Orphée is astonished by the serenity and beauty of Elysium, but he feels that only after being reunited with Eurydice can he savor its joys. His impatience is finally placated when his wife is brought to him. As in the myth, the condition of her being restored to life is that he not look at her until they are back on Earth.
Without looking at his wife, Orphée urges her to follow him quickly. Astonished to realize that she is still alive, Eurydice wonders how this can be, but Orphée refuses to answer any of her pleading questions. Stunned by his silence, her temperament flares up at what she perceives as his indifference. Unable to stand her pleading and accusations any longer, Orphée turns to her. Eurydice dies again. Orphée laments her death bitterly. Amour convinces him that his suffering has conquered all, and that Eurydice will live on in Orphée’s heart, and in the imaginary ballet he created.