"Orpheus and Eurydice"

DeVos Center for Arts and Worship

In a Nutshell

Gluck’s epic love story gets a modern staging and dance infusion from a director hailed as “the future of opera” by the New York Times

The Fine Print

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The Deal

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Orpheus and Eurydice

It’s a tale as old as song. Boy loves girl. Boy loses girl. Boy sings his way into the underworld to get girl back. Boy sings a song so beautiful that it draws tears from Hades himself. Boy escorts girl back to the land of the living and forgets a key stipulation to the deal. Boy loses girl again. And if you think the next part is “Boy gets torn apart by mob of drunk girls,” then you really need to see composer Christoph Willibald Gluck’s baroque spin on the classic Greek myth. He has a much happier ending in mind.

Gluck did more than just change the ending of the story in his 1762 opera—he changed opera as an art form. By stripping away the overly complex plots and even more tongue-twisting music that typified opera seria at the time, Gluck infused his self-contained arias and choruses with what he termed a “noble simplicity”—an approach that heavily influenced later works by Mozart (particularly The Magic Flute), Wagner, and Weber.

Stage director Timothy Nelson may have similar ambitions for his staging of Gluck’s most popular work. Hailed as “the future of opera” by not one but two publications (New York Times and Baltimore Sun), Nelson elevates the timeless love story with a modern sensibility and a healthy injection of dancing. It helps that he has three invaluable assets at center stage—Zach Finkelstein’s lovelorn tenor as Orpheus, the “pure and shining” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) soprano of Clara Rottsfolk as Eurydice, and Chelsea Morris Shepard, whose “flawless legato” (Opera News) gives the role of the goddess Amour an appropriately ethereal edge.

Opera Grand Rapids

Opera Grand Rapids—producing professional opera in West Michigan since 1967—makes the most of each performance by featuring the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, a cast of national opera singers, and the regional Opera Grand Rapids Chorus. For the productions, Opera Grand Rapids engages a cast of internationally acclaimed artists, stage directors, conductors, choreographers, set designers, costume designers, and others, in addition to the regional Grand Rapids Symphony, and Opera Grand Rapids Chorus and Children’s Chorus. For additional details, click here.

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