Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Met's Orfeo ed Euridice on Opera Bash

We're in the midst of an annual weekend long celebration of opera at WGBH, with scads of fantastic operas programmed for WGBH Channel 44. You're not going to go wrong with any of them, but the one I'm targeting is at 5pm on Sunday. It's Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, in a production by Mark Morris, with costumes by Isaac Mizrahi. Aside from the extraordinary and heartfelt performances by Stephanie Blythe as Orfeo and Danielle de Niese as Euridice, what I really loved when I saw the production earlier this year was the modernist conception of the staging. Morris's choreography transports the music from its ancient roots into what to me feels like a more relevant place. And Mizrahi not only has something to say through his costumes for the main characters, but also clearly had some fun with the Greek chorus, who, standing on a movable scaffolding throughout the action, impersonate dozens of famous historical figures, from Abraham Lincoln and Queen Elizabeth to Gandhi and Jimi Hendrix, all coming together as the entirety of humanity in the afterlife. Reviews were positive, mixed, and negative, all of which tells me that it's worth paying attention to. Personally, I loved it.

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