A Sombre Production of Orfeo ed Eurydice – blogUT

The Canadian Opera Company completes its trio of productions for the spring session with Cristoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. The names Orfeo and Euridice may sound familiar to you because the opera is based on the story of Orpheus the lyre player, who literally went to hell and back in an attempt to bring his dead lover, Eurydice, back to life.

Orfeo ed Euridice was memorable for the simplistic sets and costumes that helped set the tone for the tragedy that drives the plot and raison d’ĂȘtre of the show. The cast consisted of very proficient actors who expressed their grief convincingly. However, in song, they were, for the most part, unmemorable.

Maybe my expectations for the opera were too high (my standard Orfeo is, after all, the goddess Maria Callas – the video linked here is one where she sings the most famous aria of the opera, but in French rather than Italian), but I felt that the sadness and the drama of the entire production was only conveyed by the brilliant mise-en-scene. The scene in hell was particularly well done and is perhaps the only thing that I will give special mention for this review. However, even this positive quality seems to have failed Orfeo ed Euridice at the end when Orfeo and the chorus are celebrating Euridice’s return to the land of the mortals. The cast’s black costumes and the barren set overpowered the celebratory song and it felt as if they were at a funeral of someone who wasn’t well-liked in life.

In any case, Orfeo ed Euridice is running from May 8th to May 28th at the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts. For those living on a student budget, rush tickets are $20 and are available starting at 11 AM the day of the performance. All rush tickets seats are in the 5th ring. If you are under the age of 30, you are eligible for Opera for a New Age tickets, which cost $22 and will get you seats in the 5th or 3rd ring.

For more information on Orfeo ed Euridice and the Canadian Opera Company, click here.

Since this is my last opera review for blogUT, I would like to end with a brief personal note.

I decided to review productions by the COC purely for the purpose of generating curiosity, in hopes that students will, at least once in their lives, attend an opera production. From reading my reviews, you can probably guess that I’m not an opera expert and I’m still learning the finer details of the art. However, I feel justified in writing the way I do and in expressing the opinions I have expressed because I want to introduce the art of opera to an audience who may initially be turned off by the conception that it’s a kind of art form where one needs a lot of prior knowledge to appreciate it. To some people, that may be true, but I don’t see why the average person can’t enjoy opera for its amusing plots or beautiful music. In the end, I hope that my reviews have generated some interest, because the opera is truly a magnificent experience that everyone can enjoy.

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