Scottish Opera take on Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice

Noble simplicity in Scottish Opera's Orfeo ed Euridice

1762 opera tells the tale of Orpheus in song and dance

It’s a well-known tale. And one especially so in the world of opera, as the great myth of Orpheus and his determination to rescue his beloved wife from the underworld is one which inspired what is generally regarded as the first great opera, Monteverdi’s Orfeo. But it is not early opera that Scottish Opera turn to for their telling of the story (and neither is it Haydn or Offenbach who were both also drawn to its subject matter), but 18th century Gluck and his ‘reform’ style, in which the ‘noble simplicity’ of the music and drama takes centre stage.

In a new production of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, Ashley Page, previously artistic director of Scottish Ballet, leads an internationally renowned creative team as both director and choreographer. Not surprisingly, dance is a key component of the piece, with the beautifully elegant ‘Dance of the Blessed Spirits’ contrasting with the darker colours of the ‘Dance of the Furies’. ‘My ballets have almost always had a strong sense of collaboration between the disciplines of dance, music and design,’ says Page. ‘So, directing an opera with a considerable dance element seems a logical step for me to take.’

On the musical front, the role of Orfeo was originally written for a castrato, but these days is sung by a mezzo-soprano. In this case it’s Australian Caitlin Hulcup, who was last seen with the company six years ago in Cosi fan tutte, with soprano Lucy Hall singing opposite her as Euridice. ‘I’m particularly looking forward to working with such a talented, high-calibre group of singers and dancers,’ says Page. ‘I had a great time with Scottish Ballet and built up a wonderfully loyal and enthusiastic following there, so it feels right to be creating something for Scottish audiences again.’

Scottish Opera: Orfeo ed Euridice

Gluck's 1762 Orfeo ed Euridice did away with opportunities for empty virtuosity, setting new standards for dramatic integrity in opera writing, and in doing so helped to usher in the age of classical opera. Ashley Page directs this production, with Australian mezzo Caitlin Hulcup donning the breeches as Orfeo. Kenneth…

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