Offenbach - Keck
Orphée aux Enfers (OEK critical edition: 1858/1874 mixed version) (1858/74)
Opéra-bouffon in two acts (four scenes)
Libretto by Hector Crémieux (with the collaboration of Ludovic Halévy); original German version by Ludwig Kalisch (1858 version), German translation of inserts by Frank Harders-Wuthenow; new German versions by Wolfgang Quetes, Günter Selling and Wolfgang Böhmer (F,G)
5S,2M,4T,Bar,B,actor; chorus; ballet; 2(I,II=picc).1.2.1-188.8.131.52-timp.perc(2)-strings.
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
|JUPITER, father of the gods||Low Tenor or high Baritone|
|JUNO, his spouse||Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano|
|BACCHUS, god of wine||Actor or Singer|
|DIANA, goddess of hunting||Soprano|
|MARS, god of war||Bass|
|MINERVA, goddess of wisdom||Soprano|
|VENUS, goddess of love||Soprano|
|CUPID, Venus's son||Soprano|
|MERCURY, messenger of the gods||Tenor|
|ARISTEUS, a shepherd / PLUTO, ruler of the underworld||Tenor|
|JOHN STYX, Pluto's factotum||Tenor or high Baritone|
|ORPHEUS, a music teacher||Tenor, a violinist, if possible|
|EURYDIKE, his spouse||Soprano|
|Gods, goddesses, etc.|
Time and Place
The surroundings of Thebes; in the Olymp; in the underworld. Antiquity.
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.
Mythology, Politics, Society