Seattle—Seattle Opera presents the ultimate story of love lost and regained this February with Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, which runs for six performances from February 25 through March 10, 2012.
Developed from Gluck’s original Italian version of 1762, this French version of the opera, first performed in Paris in 1774, is a tour-de-force for tenor and also features significant ballet.
“I have the greatest expectations for our new production of Orphée et Eurydice, and also a great tenor in Bill Burden,” says Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera. “In 1988, Seattle Opera scored one of the first real successes of my tenure with this inspiring and moving opera.”
Drawing inspiration from the Greek legend, Orpheé et Eurydice tells the story of the devoted musician Orphée (tenor William Burden) and his descent into the underworld to rescue his beloved Eurydice (soprano Davinia Rodríguez) from death.
Amour (soprano Julianne Gearhart), the god of love, tests the mythic couple and, in the end, rewards fidelity with bliss.
Burden last thrilled Seattle audiences as Edgardo in Seattle Opera’s 2010 production of Lucia di Lammermoor, and Rodríguez made her company debut in that same production, as the alternate cast Lucia.
Gearhart, a former Seattle Opera Young Artist, most recently appeared in the 2009 Ring as Woglinde and the Forest Bird.
In the pit for Orphée et Eurydice is Gary Thor Wedow, who conducted Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride in 2007.
His musical leadership of last season’s Magic Flute prompted Bernard Jacobson of The Seattle Times to write “Wedow led one of the best performances I can remember. Offbeat accents that too many conductors neglect were realized with a light but effective touch, and the orchestra sounded splendid.”
Stage Director José Maria Condemi returns, following up his success with Il trovatore in 2009 and La bohème in 2007, and choreographer Yannis Adoniou makes his company debut.
The new production is designed by three up-and-coming artists who have stewarded their skills as part of Seattle Opera’s Tech and Production Departments.
Costume Designer Heidi Zamora, who has recently designed Hamlet for Seattle Children’s Theater, RoboPop! for Washington Ensemble Theater, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Seattle Opera’s Young Artists Program, is Seattle Opera’s Assistant Costume Shop Manager.
Set Designer Phillip Lienau has been Seattle Opera’s Design Consultant and Assistant for the last two seasons; current projects include designing a new production of Florencia en el Amazonas for Opera Colorado.
And Connie Yun, who first came to Seattle Opera for the 2001 Ring, lit the recent production of Attila.
Of her work in Don Quichotte last spring, The Everett Herald wrote “Connie Yun deserves kudos for bringing the story to life right out of the pages of the novel…Yun’s lighting helps underscore the fragile line between dream and reality.”
Seattle Opera’s production of Orphée et Eurydice is sponsored by Gladys Rubinstein.
William Burden’s performances are sponsored by David E. Gannett.
Davinia Rodríguez’s performances are sponsored by the James and Sherry Raisbeck Lead Singers’ Fund.
Julianne Gearhart’s performances are sponsored by Janice Condit.
Microsoft is Seattle Opera’s 2011/12 season sponsor.
Orphée et Eurydice opens Saturday, February 25, and runs through Saturday, March 10.
Single tickets start at $25 and are available online at seattleopera.org, and by calling 206.389.7676 or 800.426.1619.
Tickets may also be purchased at the Box Office by visiting 1020 John Street (two blocks west of Fairview), Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Music by Christoph Willibald Gluck
Libretto by Pierre-Louis Moline, after Ranieri de’ Calzabigi
In French with English Captions
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle, Washington
6 Performances: February 25, 29, March 3, 4m, 7, and 10, 2012
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission
Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m.; matinee begins at 2:00 p.m.
Single ticket prices start at $25
Groups save 15%: 206.676.5588
Seattle Opera Ticket Office: 206.389.7676/800.426.1619
Online orders: seattleopera.org
Premiere: Opéra, Paris, France, August 2, 1774
Previous Seattle Opera Presentation: 1988
Orphée: William Burden
Eurydice: Davinia Rodríguez
Amour: Julianne Gearhart
Conductor: Gary Thor Wedow
Stage Director: José Maria Condemi
Set Designer: Phillip Lienau†
Costume Designer: Heidi Zamora†
Lighting Designer: Connie Yun
Choreographer: Yannis Adoniou†
English Captions: Jonathan Dean
Sets and Costumes: José Maria Condemi Production
† Company debut
Julianne Gearhart is a former Seattle Opera Young Artist.
Learn more about Orphée et Eurydice!
Seattle Opera offers the following educational opportunities:
Pre-Performance Talks: An hour and a half before every performance, in the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall, $7
Podcast: Education Director Sue Elliott leads you behind the scenes and into the music. Available online at seattleopera.org/orpheus.
Spotlight Guide: Download at seattleopera.org/spotlights (available in PDF and Kindle formats)
Opera Camp – Orpheus in the Underworld: Seattle Opera and Seattle Public Theater present a five-day opera camp, in which young people in grades 6-12 learn more about the Orpheus myth while preparing for and performing their own show.
No performance experience is necessary to participate in the camp, which runs from February 21-25.
For more information, visit seattleopera.org/calendar/event.aspx?eventDateID=2687.
Free Public Previews:
2/7, 7 p.m., Third Place Books
2/9, 2 p.m., Green Lake Library
2/11, 2:15 p.m., Kitsap Library
2/12, 2 p.m., Frye Art Museum
2/13, 6 p.m., West Seattle Library
2/15, 6:30 p.m., Edmonds Library
2/22, 2 p.m., Ballard Library
2/23, 12 p.m., Seattle Central Library
About Seattle Opera
Founded in 1963, Seattle Opera is one of the leading opera companies in the United States.
The company is recognized internationally for its theatrically compelling and musically accomplished performances, especially the Opera’s interpretations of the works of Richard Wagner.
Since 1975, Seattle Opera has presented 38 cycles of the Ring (three different productions), in addition to acclaimed productions of all the other major operas in the Wagner canon.
Seattle Opera has achieved the highest per capita attendance of any major opera company in the United States, and draws operagoers from four continents and 50 states.
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