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Photo: Thomas Huther
Theater Kassel, 1999, Director: Wolf Widder

Offenbach - Keck

Orphée aux Enfers (OEK critical edition: 1858 version) (1858)

(Orpheus in der Unterwelt / Orpheus in the Underworld)
Duration: 150 minutes
Opéra-bouffon in two acts (four scenes)

Libretto by Hector Crémieux (with the collaboration of Ludovic Halévy); original German version by Ludwig Kalisch; new German version by Gunter Selling; new English version by Richard Duployen (F,G,E)

5S,2M,4T,Bar,B,actor; chorus; ballet; 2(II=picc).1.2.1-2.2.1(or3).0-timp.perc-strings
Gutheim/Reinking arrangement:
Lamprecht arrangement:
Abbreviations (PDF).

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

World Premiere
Salle Choiseul, Paris
Company: Unknown

World premiere of version
Tiroler Landestheater, Innsbruck
Brigitte Fassbaender, director
Conductor: Georg Schmöhe
Company: Ensemble Tiroler Landestheater


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
MERCURY, messenger of the gods Tenor
MINERVA, goddess of wisdom Soprano
VENUS, goddess of love Soprano
CUPID, Venus's son Soprano
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

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.

Comic, Poetic

Mythology, Relationships, Society

Items on Sale

Orphée aux Enfers (1858) (OEK)CD-Rom (Offenbach Edition Keck - Critical Edition)> Details
Orphée aux Enfers (1858) (OEK)Full Score, CD-Rom> Details
Orphée aux Enfers (1858) (OEK)(Vocal Score) (French, German)> Details
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