Serendipitously running parallel with the season of renewal, Opera Atelier’s spring presentation of Gluck’s Orpheus & Eurydice is an arousing rendition of the classic Greek love story.
Layered with gripping thematic notes on loss, rebirth, fortitude and faith, the universal narrative stands the test of time: “Every culture has their own mythology around someone who dies but comes back with the promise that death is not the end,” says Opera Atelier’s co-artistic director Marshall Pynkoski.
This year marks the company’s 30th anniversary, and Pynkoski continues to know what audiences lust after, and what will satiate them. It’s no surprise that he has once again found the penultimate production that is ripe with both substance and sexual tension.
For this version, Pynkoski opted for female actors in the three principal roles: Orpheus, Eurydice and Amore. This arrangement bolsters the intense love scenes and provides the performers and audience with an additional sexual dimension. “It adds a tremendous impact to see romantic scenes between two women, which we often encountered in 18th century theatre,” says Pynkoski.
This mythical tale of pain and fear, is ultimately a story of hope and heroism. Braving the underworld for love, demigod Orpheus is determined to bring his lover back to him despite the dangerous journey that takes him to dark and unfamiliar places. “It’s someone discovering they’re brave enough to be a hero. And you can’t be brave unless you have fear,” says Pynkoski.
The artistically multilayered show is firing on all cylinders: acrobatic dancers in exquisite costumes interact with world-class singers as the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra performs with period-appropriate instruments under the magical machinery of the otherworldly set.