When he sings, the animals stop and listen; Orpheus can literally melt stone. To find Eurydice, who disappears on their wedding day, this master of harmony must charm the underworld with his musical talent. Orpheus’s appeals convince Pluto to free Eurydice, under certain conditions. But when this gifted and infallible hero fails, he must live on with the consequences.
Live on the opening night, Staatsoper Hannover presents Orfeo, the cruel story of a great love. Orpheus cannot get over the death of his beloved; he longs and yearns for her and loses himself in loops of loss. Following the success of Like Flesh in Lille, director Silvia Costa and her team tackle Monteverdi’s masterpiece. Often using otherworldly images in her work, Costa imagines an enigmatic universe of dreams and hallucinations, of colours and symbols where Orpheus is bereft and disorientated. The production is conducted by baroque specialist David Bates, who brought Trionfo splendidly to life in Hannover and on OperaVision.
Nina van Essen
Hope (La Speranza)
Nina van Essen
Chor der Staatsoper Hannover
Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester Hannover
Antonio Cuenca Ruiz
Lorenzo Da Rio
Music commands silence while she tells the story of Orfeo, the son of Apollo, god of music.
Revellers celebrate the wedding day of Orfeo and Euridice.
Orfeo rejoices in his union with Euridice. A messenger arrives with the terrible news that Euridice has been bitten by a snake and has died. Orfeo despairs and then resolves that he will rescue Euridice from the underworld.
Hope accompanies Orfeo to the gateway of the underworld, which is guarded by Charon. At first, Orfeo’s music fails to charm Charon but eventually he is lulled to sleep and Orfeo is able to pass him by.
Proserpina, queen of the underworld, is moved by Orfeo’s music and begs Pluto, king of the underworld, to release Euridice. Pluto agrees, on condition that Orfeo neither speaks to her nor turns around to look at her while leading her back. As they travel, Orfeo doubts that Euridice is really behind him and is unable to resist turning to look. Euridice is taken from him for the second time and Orfeo is forced to return to his own world.
Consumed by grief, Orfeo renounces all women. His father, Apollo, takes pity on him and offers him a life in the heavens, making music for immortality.