On Screen: Eurydice (The Met)
December 18, 2021 @ 1:00 pm| $5 – $47
Orcas Center presents on the Center Stage Screen:
The Met: Eurydice
Saturday, December 18th – 1pm
Runtime: 2 hours and 45 minutes with intermission
Tiered Ticket Pricing: $47, $25, $5, or Pay What You Can (Minimum $5)
Orcas Center charges a $2 per ticket fee
Due to COVID Precautions, the following guidelines will be followed:
**Orcas Center’s Tiered Ticket Pricing is based on the needs of your family. The variant in pricing is not based on seat location or dates of performances, rather, what you’re able to afford to help us to maintain our facilities and create quality programming.
Tier A is the true cost per patron of putting on show at the Orcas Center, Tier B is our standard rate, also subsidized by our generous donors, Tier C is a rate subsidized by our generous donors. **
Orpheus is almost the archetypical operatic tale, and composers throughout history have adapted it for the operatic stage. But in his evocative new opera, celebrated American composer Matthew Aucoin reimagines the story from Eurydice’s point of view and imbues these familiar characters with surprising new dimensions.
The ancient Greek myth of Orpheus, who attempts to harness the power of music to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the underworld, has inspired composers since opera’s earliest days. Brilliant American composer Matthew Aucoin now carries that tradition into the 21st century with a captivating new take on the story—a product of the Met’s commissioning program. With a libretto by Sarah Ruhl, adapted from her acclaimed 2003 play, the opera reimagines the familiar tale from Eurydice’s point of view. Yannick Nézet-Séguin oversees the momentous Met premiere from the podium, leading Aucoin’s evocative music and an immersive new staging by Mary Zimmerman. Soprano Erin Morley sings the title role, opposite baritone Joshua Hopkins as Orpheus and countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński as his otherworldly alter-ego. Bass-baritone Nathan Berg is Eurydice’s father and fellow resident of the underworld, with tenor Barry Banks as Hades himself.
Orpheus and Eurydice, young and in love, are on a beach. Eurydice is frustrated that Orpheus’s mind always seems to be elsewhere. But Orpheus surprises her; he playfully ties a string around her finger to remind her of their love, and she realizes (a little late) that he’s tied it around her ring finger, and that it’s a proposal. She says yes.
In the Underworld, Eurydice’s father writes her a letter, offering fatherly advice for her wedding day. He laments that he doesn’t know how to get his letters to her.
At their wedding, Orpheus and Eurydice dance. Eurydice says she’s feeling warm, and steps outside to find a drink of water.
When she is alone outside, Eurydice realizes how much she misses her deceased father and says that she’d always thought there would be “more interesting people” at her wedding. At that moment, a mysterious, “interesting” man appears. He claims to have a penthouse apartment.
At his apartment, the Interesting Man gives Eurydice Champagne and puts on terrible mood music. He does not give her the letter. Eurydice realizes the situation she’s in and turns to leave. The Interesting Man reveals the letter. Eurydice tries to grab it and run away, but she trips. She falls down hundreds of stairs, into the Underworld, to her death.
In the Underworld, three Stones—Little Stone, Big Stone, and Loud Stone—the obnoxious bureaucratic guardians of the land of the dead, explain that Eurydice has died, and that, as a dead person, she will lose her memory and all power of language.
Eurydice arrives in the Underworld in an elevator. Inside the elevator, it rains on Eurydice. She loses her memory.
When she steps out of the elevator, her father greets her. Eurydice has no idea who he is. Her father tries to explain what has happened to her.
In the world above, Orpheus mourns Eurydice’s death. He writes her a letter but does not know how to get it to her.
In the Underworld, the father builds a room out of string for Eurydice. A letter falls from the sky. The father reads it and tells Eurydice it’s from Orpheus. The name “Orpheus” triggers something in Eurydice, and she begins to remember who she is. She finally recognizes her father.
Orpheus slowly lowers the collected works of Shakespeare into the Underworld on a string. The father reads to Eurydice from King Lear. Eurydice begins to learn language again, word by word.
Orpheus resolves to find a way to get to the Underworld and bring Eurydice back.
In the Underworld, the Stones hear Orpheus singing wordlessly as he approaches the gates. His singing begins to rouse the spirits of the dead. Distressed, the Stones call their boss, Hades, who was also the Interesting Man.
Orpheus sings gorgeously at the gates of the Underworld. Hades appears and dismissively informs him of the rules for bringing Eurydice back to the world above. She can follow him, but he must not look back to make sure she is there.
Eurydice is torn between following Orpheus and staying with her father. Her father insists that she go after Orpheus and live a full life.
When she sees Orpheus up ahead, Eurydice is afraid. She is convinced that it’s not really him. She follows but eventually rushes toward him and calls his name. Orpheus turns around, startled. The lovers are slowly, helplessly pulled apart.
The father is desolate now that Eurydice is gone. In despair, he decides to dip himself in the river of forgetfulness and obliterate his memory. He quietly speaks the directions to his childhood home and lowers himself into the water.
Eurydice returns to the Underworld and finds, to her horror, that her father has dipped himself in the river of forgetfulness and obliterated his memory. Hades reappears to claim Eurydice as his bride. She coyly asks for a moment to prepare herself.
She finds a pen in her father’s coat pocket and writes a letter to Orpheus, which contains instructions for his future wife on how to take care of him. She dips herself in the river of forgetfulness.
The elevator descends once again. In it is Orpheus. He sees Eurydice lying on the ground. He recognizes her and is happy. But the elevator rains on Orpheus, obliterating his memory. He steps out of the elevator. He finds the letter Eurydice wrote to him. He does not know how to read it.
Synopsis by Matthew Aucoin; reprinted courtesy of LA Opera.