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Eurydice Found

Eurydice Found

Eurydice Found

Eurydice Found

eurydice found:
From the underworld to LA,
this myth is on the move

What happiness it would be to cry.
I was not lonely, only alone with myself,
begging myself not to leave my own body.
But I was leaving.
Good-bye, head—I said.
How do you say good-bye to yourself?

from Eurydice, by Sarah Ruhl

LA Opera is part of a dynamic cultural and educational nerve system that will take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth through Eurydice Found (January through March, 2020). Inspired by the world premiere of Eurydice by composer Matt Aucoin and librettist Sarah Ruhl, artists and scholars across the city will upend the ancient, traditional tale, and lead us into daring new understandings of its enduring hold on us. Through a festival of performances, conversations and happenings, we say good-bye to our vague preconceptions and misconception about this famous classic female who gets left behind in the underworld. Instead, we let Eurydice speak for herself.



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Eurydice Found will feature a variety of programming for all ages. This list will be updated as events and activities are finalized and dates are announced.

(Please note: all programming is subject to change.)

Heidi Duckler Dance: Underworld / Underpass
Heidi Duckler Dance will convert the vacant underpass beneath LA’s historic 7th Street Bridge into a performance and exhibition space open to the public. Audiences will descend from the street into a “Low Line” in the underbelly of the bridge to engage a new dance opera, UNDERWORLD / UNDERPASS, exploring the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Marike Splint: Don’t Look Back/ An Orphic soundwalk
Don’t Look Back is an experiential Orpheus-inspired soundwalk leading the audience through the underground of Grand Park and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Step in the mythical character’s footsteps as you walk towards the upper world. Just remember: direct your eyes only to what’s ahead of you…

Brain and Creativity Institute: The Power of Stories across Cultures – Insights from Neuroscience
Stories play an essential role in human culture and development. In this event, the neuroscientists of the Brain and Creativity Institute will discuss how a multitude of brain processes including memory, imagination, emotion, abstract inference, and social knowledge are involved when we hear or read stories. The evening will include a panel discussion among scientists, philosophers and storytellers. Musicians from the LA Opera will perform musical pieces from different cultural narratives throughout the evening to highlight how listening to stories allow us to travel across time and cultures.

Pasadena City College and the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens: We all look to the Stars
Drawing on myths and writing from different cultures, and inspired by the constellation Lyra, the event is a musical celebration of the wonders of the night sky. Across history, culture, time and space—every division and divide among us—we all look at the same stars. Bringing together LA Opera artists with students and faculty from Pasadena City College and the local community at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, we embrace our universal, human connection with a journey through the night sky in song.

Hammer Museum: Eurydice, Black Orpheus and QUAD
The Hammer Museum will be hosting several events in which film, poetry, theater and music intersect and some of the most dynamic artists and thinkers expose their process and journeys:

  • Artist Kandis Williams hosts a screening of Eurydice from her Montreal performance, followed by a conversation with Alex Zhang Hungtai, Josh Johnson and herself, exploring aesthetic decisions around the DuBoisian theory of double consciousness and their work together on several iterations of the Eurydice project and in their disparate practices.
  • A screening of Black Orpheus: Winner of the 1960 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, this ancient love story is based on the musical Orfeu da Conceição, by Vinícius de Moraes. With a celebrated bossa-nova soundtrack by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfá, the film re-imagines the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in the slums of Rio de Janeiro during Carnivale.
  • The Hammer Museum will also host performances of Samuel Beckett’s rarely performed QUAD, directed by Michael Hackett and in partnership with UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. QUAD is Samuel Beckett's distillation of the human journey in an interplay of sound, light and movement. One critic has described QUAD as "four hooded wanderers engaged in a quest for an Other” and a second critic as “a progress towards the separation between the conscious and unconscious mind.”

Boston Court Theatre: Orpheus and Eurydice
What happens when Orpheus gives up his mythic lyre for a clarinet? Find out when you see this innovative staging of award winning composer Ricky Ian Gordon’s reimagining of the classic love story written for soprano, clarinet and piano. “I am not part of anything now" begins the heroine as we are transported into this timeless story of love and loss.

The Getty Villa Presents - A Reading with Libretto Excerpts of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice
The Getty Villa will be hosting a staged reading of Tony-nominee and MacArthur Fellow Sarah Ruhl’s libretto for the opera, Eurydice. The presentation will also feature excerpts from her libretto for this new opera. An interactive conversation will follow the reading with the acclaimed playwright and the score’s composer, Matthew Aucoin. Selections from the opera will be performed by LA Opera.

Art Muse LA: The Greater Museum of LA
Art Muse LA becomes our Orphic guide to “the Greater Museum of LA.” This online map helps Angelenos discover the astonishingly rich and fascinating works of art found within our museums, galleries and public spaces that reveal facets of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Paintings and sculptures are paired with poetry, facts and musical excerpts across the city’s landscape. You will want to look twice and thrice, if not backwards too, at the numerous works of art that illustrate the myth’s enduring power to enchant us.

LA Opera: In-School Opera Residency - Orpheus
Secondary students break the mold of traditional school productions as they turn their auditorium into a world-class opera house. Arts and education meet at our In School Opera Workshops, where ten weeks with LA Opera artists fly by as students sharpen their performance skills and perform a full-scale opera (and master some Common Core and VAPA standards, too). Students will travel through time and around the world of Orpheus, an original youth opera written by librettist Matthew Leavitt and composer Nathan Wang.

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About the Myth

Looking for a refresher on the doomed love story of Orpheus and Eurydice? We’ve got you covered.

Orpheus and Eurydice fall in love and get married. But on their wedding night Eurydice is bit by a snake and dies (shortest marriage award?) Orpheus is miserable, so he travels the Underworld to bring her back to life. His love (and gorgeous music) convinces Hades and Persephone (King and Queen of the Underworld) to let Eurydice go. But there’s a catch (there’s always a catch). Eurydice must walk behind him as they ascend from the Underworld and Orpheus is forbidden from looking at her.

They begin their climb. But just before they reach the exit, Orpheus is overcome with love for his bride. He turns to look at Eurydice. She is instantly sent back to the Underworld, forever (you had one job, O). Orpheus is miserable, and continues to play his music throughout Greece, alone.



ORPHEUS UNDERGROUND - Novelist Neil Gaiman explores the intricacies of the Orpheus myth, the timeless story of art's place in trying to recover the dead.
BBC Sounds Podcast

ORPHEUS THROUGH THE AGES - Writer Kate Bernheimer presents a selection of her favorite Orpheus retellings, from ancient to modern times.
The New Yorker Magazine

ASTRONOMICAL INSTRUMENT -Truth be told, the celestial lyre stands as the sky's sole musical influence.
Sky and Telescope Magazine

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Aucoin's Eurydice


In Greek mythology, she was a shadowy figure we barely knew. Let's change that.

Composer Matthew Aucoin partners with playwright Sarah Ruhl for a new opera that reimagines ancient mythology for a modern age. This time, the tale unfolds from the heroine's point of view. (Finally, right?) Tragically killed on her wedding day, a young bride descends into the underworld, where she reconnects with her adoring father. Presented with the opportunity to return to her husband in the world of the living, she must now choose between the two men she loves.


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