LA Opera presents the world premiere of Eurydice
A new opera by composer Matthew Aucoin and librettist Sarah Ruhl
(Los Angeles) December 18, 2019 — LA Opera begins the new year with a new opera: the world premiere of Eurydice by composer Matthew Aucoin and librettist Sarah Ruhl, based on her 2003 play of the same name. Directed by Mary Zimmerman, Eurydice opens on February 1, 2020.
A MacArthur Fellowship (“Genius Grant”) recipient—as are Ms. Ruhl and Ms. Zimmerman— Matthew Aucoin has been hailed as “contemporary opera’s rising wunderkind” by the New York Times. He's not only the composer of Eurydice, he will also conduct his new work, which depicts the struggle of the strong pulls between love and death.
"Ever since I arrived at LA Opera as Artist in Residence in the fall of 2016, I have been at work on Eurydice, so it feels deeply right that this opera's premiere will be the culminating event of my rich and joyful residency here," said Mr. Aucoin. "Sarah Ruhl’s libretto is heartbreaking, funny, surreal and magical; at certain moments, you may find yourself laughing through tears. I hope my music has matched her extraordinary emotional range, and I think LA audiences are in for a thrilling ride."
Eurydice reimagines the ancient myth of Orpheus and Eurydice for a modern age, bringing the heroine out of the shadows and into the forefront of her own narrative.
"When I wrote the play, I was still in the process of leaving my primary genre, poetry, and moving towards playwriting," said Sarah Ruhl. "As a result, Eurydice on the page looks more like a poem than a play, and I think it is the white space on the page where poetry might take flight and become music."
Eurydice is a co-commission and co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, which will present the opera in a future season.
There will be six performances from February 1 through 23, 2020, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90012).
The premiere will be celebrated through the countywide festival Eurydice Found, dedicated to exploring new perspectives on the enduring legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. (Details below.)
Eurydice always imagined that her wedding day would be a day she'd never forget. But after a tragic death, mere hours after trying the knot with Orpheus, her memories are almost entirely erased during an unsettling descent into the Underworld.Reunited there with her late father, Eurydice attempts to piece together faint recollections of the life she left too soon. But when Orpheus miraculously arrives to take Eurydice back to the world of the living, she must make an agonizing choice between the two men she loves—her adoring father or her devoted husband. Love always wins... right?
Soprano Danielle de Niese, an international superstar who made her operatic debut with LA Opera at the age of 15, returns to create the title role. Her most recent appearances include the title role of Cendrillon with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Musetta in La Bohème with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha at the London Colosseum and Norina in Don Pasquale in Tokyo, Brussels and Vienna.
Addendum (February 10, 2020)
Soprano Erica Petrocelli will perform the role of Eurydice on February 14.
The two men in Eurydice's life are portrayed by baritone Joshua Hopkins, making his LAO debut as Orpheus, and baritone Rod Gilfry as Eurydice's father, his 31st role with the company.
The cast also includes:
- tenor Barry Banks as Hades
- countertenor John Holiday as Orpheus's double (the Spirit of Music)
- soprano Stacey Tappan as the Little Stone
- mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis as the Big Stone
- tenor Matthew Grills as the Loud Stone
Addendum (December 20, 2019)
The role of the Loud Stone will now be performed by Kevin Ray, replacing Matthew Grills, who has withdrawn.
The Creative Team
Eurydice will be conducted by its composer, Matthew Aucoin. The production is directed by Mary Zimmerman, with scenery designed by Dan Ostling, costumes by Ana Kuzmanic and lighting by T.J. Gerckens. The chorus is directed by Grant Gershon and the choreographer is Denis Jones.
Performance Dates and Times
There will be six performances of Eurydice:
- Saturday, February 1, 2020, at 7:30pm (world premiere)
- Saturday, February 8, 2020, at 7:30pm (Aria: Under 40 Night)
- Friday, February 14, 2020, at 7:30pm
- Sunday, February 16, 2020, at 2pm
- Thursday, February 20, 2020, at 7:30pm
- Sunday, February 23, 2020, at 2pm
Tickets are on sale now. Tickets begin at $19 and can be purchased online at LAOpera.org, by phone at 213.972.8001, or in person at the LA Opera box office at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012). For disability access, call 213.972.0777 or email LAOpera@LAOpera.org.
Performed in English with subtitles.
Commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and LA Opera.
Originally commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater New Works Program with support from the OPERA America Repertoire Development Grant.
A co-production of LA Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.
By arrangement with G. Schirmer, Inc., publisher and copyright owner.
About Eurydice Found
Inspired by LA Opera's world premiere of Eurydice, artists, scholars and community members across Los Angeles will come together in the first three months of 2020 for Eurydice Found, a festival dedicated to new perspectives on the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.Since the new opera unfolds from the heroine's point of view, the festival will celebrate female artists and the female viewpoint. Eurydice Found will upend the ancient myth through a wide range of performances, conversations and happenings. Learn more at LAOpera.org/festival.
LA Opera Media Contact
Vanessa Flores Waite, Director of Communications
THANK YOU TO OUR GENEROUS DONORS AND PARTNERS
Production made possible with generous support from the Bernard and Lenore Greenberg Opera Fund.
Additional support from donors to the Eurydice Consortium.