Monday, July 7, 2014

La Monnaie's Orphee – Some Background

Photo: Bernd Uhlig
After a prompt from Lydia (definitelytheopera), I decided to look up some additional information (in English) on this new, moving production of Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice. The official videos at the La Monnaie site are apparently quite informative; but only if you understand French and/or Dutch better than I do. Thus my Anglo-centric search for more info. 

So, here is notice that appeared in early June in the KULTURKOMPASSET blog that previews the concept of the production. 

Here is an article about Locked-in Syndrome (LiS) or pseudocoma from The Brain Foundation; and an interview with LiS Survivor Richard Marsh

And here are two reviews in English: from the blog londongrip; and from the New York Times.

This is a co-production with the Weiner Festwochen, and it was seen in Vienna in May, sung in Italian. Over at The Opera Critic, you can find links to reviews (in German) of those performances, plus a few reviews (in French) of the current La Monnaie incarnation.


  1. I finally found time to watch this. I'm actually glad I didn't go. This is really difficult to watch! In fact I am so engrossed in Els's story I'm barely paying attention to the music. On the other hand, it fits the O & E story so well; truly an extraordinary production. I just wish whoever filmed it didn't pan out every so often as I keep missing important bits of the story :( - and it's not adding to the visuals, as there's nothing else to see on stage.

    1. I found the same things as you. I sometimes almost forgot to listen to the music. I wasn't so bothered by the panning out, as I was glad to see how the filmed portions overlapped the staging (which was, of course, minimal). Although the video person could have been more judicious about not panning out when there was narration on the screen.

      I do feel a bit like the director took an easy way to snag at our emotions. At the same time, Stéphanie d'Oustrac is so good, she could have made me feel just as emotional without the film behind her.

  2. Maybe it's weird but I didn't feel manipulated. I thought the story was a compelling one worth telling and this was the perfect venue for it. Maybe the public should be made aware of more medical conditions via the corresponding operas. On the other hand this is the kind of opera I've often found I didn't need elaborate or any visuals to keep my attention. Unlike with most operas, I'm happy to listen to audio recordings. Remember the one production by Fura del Baus? I was completely overwhelmed by that one as well, madness! For a long time I thought it was too much; now (after this production) I'm thinking, it's an odd space Orphee and Eurydice are inhabiting, maybe it's not so nutty to allow yourself to get a bit lost...

    1. I haven't seen the Fura del Baus production yet, but looking at the YouTube videos I am very very intrigued. I'm going to have to track down a full recording.


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