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Music Text

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


9S,S(M),M,7T,2T(Bar),3B; chorus; ballet;
2(II=picc).2.2.2-; on-stage:fl.picc-2tpt.3trbn.ophicleide-perc:BD/SD/cym

Abbreviations (PDF)



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


World Premiere
Théâtre de la Gaîté, Paris
Company: unknown


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 sleep Tenor
KYBELE and POMONA Sopranos
FLORA and CERES Sopranos
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 underworld Tenor
AIAKOS, judge of the underworld Tenor
RHADAMANTHYS, judge of the underworld Bass
A Lictor Tenor
Public council Bass
Children Sopranos
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

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