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Orpheus and Eurydice
Composer: Christoph Willibald Gluck
Stage Producer, Choreographer: Giorgio Madia
Music Director: Marek Toporowski
Set and Costume Designer: Bruno Schwengl
Choreographer’s Assistant: Herve Palito, Elena Korpusenko
Choir Master: Zygmunt Magiera
Music Director's Assistant: Grzegorz Brajner
Stage Managers: Agnieszka Sztencel, Magdalena Wąsowska
Prompters: Dorota Sawka, Krystyna Behounek
BALLET, CHOIR AND THE KRAKOW OPERA ORCHESTRA
The opera’s libretto is based on the Greek myth. Eurydice, wife of a Thracian singer Orpheus, is bitten by a viper and dies. To get her back, Orpheus descends to the underworld. He almost succeeds in leading Eurydice out of the dead but he breaks a divine ban, looks at her and loses his beloved forever...
"Orpheus and Eurydice" is the thirtieth of 107 operas left by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) - German composer, Kapellmeister at the Emperor’s court in Vienna, author successful also in Paris and acclaimed to have been the reformer of opera.
Giorgio Madia, an Italian by birth, working as a choreographer for the most important European stages, the author of "Cinderella" staging at the Krakow Opera a few years ago, is preparing "Orpheus and Eurydice" (the French version) for the first time, especially for the Krakow Opera. It will be both an opera and a ballet spectacle. Every opera character has its counterpart in a character from the ballet ground.
At Eurydice’s grave, Orpheus and the choir bemoan her premature death (Ah, dans ce bois). Orpheus wishes to be left alone (Objet de mon amour). Amor brings him good news: if he manages to win the favour of the powers of the Underworld, Eurydice will return to him, provided, however, that he will not look at her until they are both back among the living (Soumis au silence). Orpheus descends into the Underworld.
The choir of the Underworld meets him on the bank of the Cocytus (Quel est l’audacieux). Surrounded by the raging furies (Dance of the Furies), the Thracian musician makes useless efforts to appeal to the powers of the Underworld with his complaint (Laissez vous toucher). In desperation, he strums the strings of his lyre (Ah, la flamme), and his singing moves even the cruellest monsters of the shadowy realm (Quels chants doux). In the Elysian Fields, surrounded by happy shades, Eurydice enjoys a soothing tranquillity (Cet asile, aimable et tranquille). Orpheus suddenly finds himself in the enchanting realm (Quel nouveau ciel). The shades bring Eurydice up to him. Without looking back at her, he leads her out.
Orpheus and Eurydice traverse the dark abysses, slowly climbing towards the world of the living (Viens, viens, Eurydice). Eurydice, however, cannot understand why her husband refuses to even glance at her (duet: Viens, suis un époux) and reproaches him (Fortune ennemie). Unable to bear this suffering any longer, Orpheus turns towards her, whereupon she instantly dies again in his arms. Orpheus’s despair has no bounds (J’ai perdu mon Eurydice). Before, however, he manages to take his own life, Amor arrives in time to stop his hand and restore the living Eurydice to him (trio: L ’Amour triomphe).
Based on: Piotr Kamiński, Tysiąc i jedna opera, PWM, 2008
Finally, a well-deserved and unquestioned success at Lubicz street! And it is not only due to the fact that “Orpheus and Eurydice” in the complete stage version has not been present in our city for a long time.The staging of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera becomes a real gem…
Mateusz Borkowski, “Gazeta Wyborcza”, 30.04.2013