The tale of the two lovers, Orpheus and Eurydice, has been told, and told again. Now, the Joffrey Ballet from Chicago, LA Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Hamburg State Opera are teaming up to tell this classic myth again with Christoph Willibald Gluck's magical opera, "Orpheus and Eurydice." This particular production is the 1774 Paris version of the opera, "Orpheé et Eurydice," with libretto by Pierre-Louis Moline.
Orpheus, distraught over the death of his beloved wife Eurydice, is granted permission from the gods to venture into the underworld and take her back from the land of the dead. However, there is one condition: he must not look back at her until they have returned to the land of the living. Confused as to why he will not look at her, Eurydice begins to verbally berate Orpheus for being indifferent and uncaring. When his heart can no longer bear these accusations, Orpheus turns to his wife to comfort her, breaking the rule the gods put in place, and loses her.
John Neumeier takes on this goliath of a production by serving as not only the director, but as the choreographer and designer as well. In an interview with Performances Magazine, Neumeier says that playing all these roles creates, "in a word, unity," within in the production, and allows him to fit all the pieces together to create a new world onstage: "Creating a ballet means creating a new world."
Watching the Joffrey Ballet is a spellbinding experience. A company comprised of the best of the best, each dancer brings a wealth of grace and beauty to the stage. With strength and fluidity, they embody both the demons of hell, as well as the spirits of Elysium, and are essential in creating the world of the story.
Maxim Mironov carries the show as Orpheus. The majority of the show's intricate and passionate music falls on his shoulders, and he rises to the occasion with his powerful and melodious tenor voice. However, while his voice soars and astounds, many of the emotions he is trying to convey—anguish, grief, pain—do not reach his eyes. Lisette Oropesa's lovely soprano voice brings Eurydice to life, but sometimes fails to convey the emotion of the relationship between her and Orpheus. Liv Redpath is captivating as Amour. Of the three soloists, Redpath is the most interesting to watch as she watches over and guides Orpheus with a gentle smile.
"Orpheus and Eurydice" will be playing at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion until March 25th. Tickets are available at LAOpera.org/Orpheus