ORPHÉE ET EURYDICE by Nederlandse Reisopera on tour

The tragic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice stands as one of the most exquisite and sorrowful stories in Greek mythology. According to the myth, Orpheus, a gifted musician, tragically loses his beloved Eurydice to a snake bite on their wedding day. In a desperate attempt to reclaim her, he journeys to the underworld, where he is granted permission to bring her back on the condition that he does not pay a glance her way until they have both reached the surface. Nevertheless, Orpheus defies the divine decree and loses his Love forever.

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice performed by the Nederlandse Reisopera at Amare in The Hague. The opera was sung in French with Dutch and English surtitles projected above the stage which made it easy to follow along – with that being said, it was difficult not to get lost in the breath-taking set. The powerful performance was made up of three acts over the course of 105 minutes and spotlighted the vocal versatility of each performer who, quite literally, sang their hearts out.

Tenor Yaroslav Abaimov  as Orpheus and sopranos Kristina Bitenc as Eurydice and Lucia Martin Carton (L’amour) lead the cast with their melancholic melodies. Their wistful tunes trailed the length of the theatre in sighs of longing, eliciting a heartfelt response from the audience and a standing ovation by the end. Five dancers accompanied the three leading roles as well as the Consensus Vocalis choir and Phion’s musicians. The contemporary dancers, rather than distracting from the story, added a whole new weight to the fable. Their tumultuous movements intertwined intense emotions with unpredictable circumstances – exposing both the joy and turmoil that love can bring.

To align with his vision for opera, Gluck re-imagined the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice by allowing the two lovers to be with each other, alive, at the end. This transported the audience into an alternative and enigmatic realm where love trumps all.  Eva Lakeman  4th May 2024