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Orpheus
and Eurydice

Directed and choreographed by John Neumeier

Overview

"An achingly beautiful dream of a show...an inspired intertwining of ballet and opera" - Chicago Tribune

In a modern take on a timeless story, a breathtaking new production by living legend John Neumeier showcases the virtuoso dancers of the Joffrey Ballet. Shattered from the sudden death of his beloved Eurydice, Orpheus descends into the underworld in a courageous effort to reunite with his muse.

Gluck’s groundbreaking masterpiece, which bridges the musical worlds of Handel and Mozart with its ornate vocal lines and flowing melodies, forever changed the face of opera with its bold emphasis on dramatic clarity and emotional strength.

See the making-of this production on our "From Sketch to Stage" behind-the-scenes page by clicking HERE

Schedule

Production made possible by generous support from GRoW @ Annenberg, an initiative of Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and Family, Annenberg Foundation, and Ceil and Michael Pulitzer.

Additional generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lisette Oropesa's appearance generously underwritten by a gift from the Piera Barbaglia Shaheen Emerging Artist Fund.

Running time: approximately two hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.

A new co-production of LA Opera with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Staatsoper Hamburg.

Cast

Creative Team

Synopsis

Click here for a synopsis in Spanish.

Act One
Orpheus, a choreographer, rehearses his new ballet The Isle of the Dead, inspired by the painting by Arnold Böcklin. His 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, Orpheus sadly recalls his wedding. In despair, he suffers a breakdown. His assistant, Amour, comforts him, suggesting the mythical journey of Orpheus into the Underworld.

Act Two
In his madness, Orpheus imagines himself in Hades, where the Furies angrily block his 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 Orpheus, the Furies allow him to enter Elysium.

Orpheus 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.

Intermission

Act Three
Without looking at his wife, Orpheus urges her to follow him quickly. Astonished to realize that she is still alive, Eurydice wonders how this can be, but Orpheus 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, Orpheus turns to her. Eurydice dies again. Orpheus laments her death bitterly. Amour convinces him that his suffering has conquered all, and that Eurydice will live on in Orpheus’s heart and in the imaginary ballet he created.

Synopsis by John Neumeier

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PRE-SHOW TALK

Pre-Show Lecture

Prior to every performance, LA Opera's acclaimed Music Director Maestro James Conlon and other scholars of note hold an engaging and informative talk about the opera our audience is about to see. Generously sponsored by The Flora L. Thornton Foundation and The Opera League of Los Angeles, these talks are free of charge to those attending the performance and take place in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.