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Photo: Toni Muhr
Opernhaus Graz, November 2002

Offenbach - Keck

Orphée aux Enfers (OEK critical edition: 1874 version) (1874)

(Orpheus in der Unterwelt / Orpheus in the Underworld)
Duration: 180 minutes
Opéra-féerie in four acts (12 scenes)

Libretto by Hector Crémieux (with the collaboration of Ludovic Halévy); original German version by Ludwig Kalisch, adapted and completed by Frank Harders-Wuthenow; new English version by Richard Duployen (F,G,E)

Scoring
9S,S(M),M,7T,2T(Bar),3B; chorus; ballet; 2(II=picc).2.2.2-2.2.3.0-timp.perc(2)-strings.
Abbreviations (PDF).


Territory
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.



World Premiere
2/7/1874
Théâtre de la Gaîté, Paris
Company: unknown



World premiere of version
11/30/2002
Opernhaus, Graz
Jean-Louis Martinoty, director
Conductor: Johannes Stert
Company: Ensemble der Bühnen Graz

Roles

JUPITER, father of the gods Low Tenor or high Baritone
JUNO, his spouse Soprano or Mezzo Soprano
DIANA, goddess of hunting Soprano
MARS, god of war Bass
MERCURY, messenger of the gods Tenor
MINERVA, goddess of wisdom Soprano
VENUS, goddess of love Soprano
CUPID, Venus's son Soprano
MORPHEUS, God of sleepTenor
KYBELE and POMONASopranos
FLORA and CERESSopranos
ORPHEUS, a music teacher Tenor, a violinist, if possible
EURYDIKE, his spouse Soprano
ARISTEUS, a shepherd / PLUTO, ruler of the underworld Tenor
JOHN STYX, Pluto's factotum Tenor or high Baritone
MINOS, judge of the underworldTenor
AIAKOS, judge of the underworldTenor
RHADAMANTHYS, judge of the underworldBass
PUBLIC OPINIONMezzo Soprano
A LictorTenor
Public councilBass
ChildrenSopranos
Gods, goddesses


Time and Place
The surroundings of Thebes; in the Olymp; in the underworld. Antiquity.


Synopsis
The married life of Orpheus and Eurydike is far from being a classical one. Eurydike has had enough of her husband, a violin virtuoso and director of the conservatory of Thebes, and has given up hiding her affair with the shepherd Aristeus. Aristeus, however, is in truth Pluto, the lord of the underworld, who stages a tragic death for Eurydike so he can take his loved one down to Hades. Orpheus feels relieved, for now he can fully devote himself to his female pupils. But at that point, Public Opinion steps in. After all, the good reputation of classical antiquity is at stake, so he asks the characters to keep to the mythology. Thus Orpheus, like it or not, is ordered to call at Mount Olympus and to lodge a complaint against Pluto.


Moods
Comic, Poetic


Subjects
Mythology, Politics, Society, Music/Arts





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