The Arts

Orfeo ed Euridice

Orfeo ed Euridice featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron

Orfeo ed Euridice
Canadian Opera Company
Composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck
Conducted by Harry Bicket
Directed by Robert Carsen
Performed by Lawrence Zazzo, Isabel Bayrakdarian, and Ambur Braid
Four Seasons Centre
May 8 to 28, 2011

At the end of the COC’s magnificent production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, the audience exploded into applause. And for good reason. The performance is stunning.

I had first seen Canadian director Robert Carsen’s production in Chicago in 2006, but it is even better the second time through. Simple, yet immediate. Stark, yet emotionally layered.

Designer Tobias Hoheisel’s costumes set the scene in modern day Greece. His set is a barren landscape. Carsen, however, has filled this emptiness with surprise visual effects.

Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian repeats her performance as Euridice, and her pleas to her seemingly indifferent husband are heart-breaking. Soprano Ambur Braid’s Amore captures the god’s youthful energy.

It is American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo as Orfeo who dominates. He is never off stage, and his gorgeous, emotionally layered outpour of sound is luscious. The great early man of music, Harry Bicket, is in the pit.

This Orfeo ed Euridice is perfection.

Orfeo ed Euridice continues at the Four Seasons Centre until May 28.

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