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

Scoring

5S,2M,4T,Bar,B,actor; chorus; ballet;
2(I,II=picc).1.2.1-2.2.1(or3).0-timp.perc(1):BD/cym/tamb/tgl-strings

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
21/10/1858
Salle Choiseul, Paris
Company: Unknown

World premiere of version
30/10/1999
Tiroler Landestheater, Innsbruck
Brigitte Fassbaender, director
Conductor: Georg Schmöhe
Company: Ensemble Tiroler Landestheater

Roles

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
PUBLIC OPINION Mezzo-Soprano
Gods, goddesses, etc.
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




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