AZ Opera Performs 'Orfeo Ed Euridice'
After the success of “Aida,” Arizona Opera is concluding its record-selling 2011-12 season with a work it’s never before presented in its 41-year history – Christoph Willibald Gluck’s 1762 masterpiece “Orfeo ed Euridice.”
Based on the classic myth of a Greek hero’s descent into the underworld to rescue his true love, this Italian opera features a groundbreaking score and sumptuous sets inspired by ancient Grecian temples.
“This particular work holds such an important place in the history of opera,” says Scott Altman, Arizona Opera general director. “On this special occasion of an Arizona Opera premiere, we feel very fortunate to have assembled a world-class cast, design and production team.”
Mezzo-soprano Katharine Goeldner and soprano Christein Brandes perform, respectively, the title roles of the mythological lovers Orfeo and Euridice. A frequent performer at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Goeldner recently performed opposite Anna Netrebko in the Metropolitan Opera’s “Anna Bolena.” This is Goeldner’s Arizona Opera debut.
Brandes is also making her Arizona Opera debut. She has been lauded for her committed artistry to repertoire ranging from Handel operas to newly composed works such as William Bolcom’s “A View from the Bridge.” She enjoys an active career in North America and abroad, performing at many of the world’s most distinguished festivals and concert series in programs from recitals and chamber music to oratorio and opera.
The cast also includes soprano and Marion Roose Pullin Resident Artist Rebecca Sjowall as the cupid Amore. In addition, a sizeable chorus depicts nymphs, demons, Furies, spirits and heroes in Gluck’s operatic version, which also includes ballet.
Sets and costumes for Orfeo ed Euridice come from the critically-acclaimed 2007 Glimmerglass Opera production in Cooperstown, N.Y. With sets by John Conklin, one of the foremost scenic designers in the country, and costumes by Constance Hoffman, the Glimmerglass production was praised as “handsome” by the New York Times’ music critic Anthony Tommasini. The original director of the Glimmerglass production, Lillian Groag, will direct the performances here in Arizona.
Choreography for Orfeo ed Euridice is by Keturah Stickann. Arizona Opera Principal Conductor Joel Revzen conducts all five performances, which are accompanied by English supertitles.
Performances of Orfeo ed Euridice are April 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and April 15 at 2 p.m. at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Performances are also April 21 at 7:30 p.m. and April 22 at 2 p.m. at Tucson Music Hall.
Ticket prices begin at $25 and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets by calling 1-800-982-2787 or visiting online www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available through the Arizona Opera Box Office from 10 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. at 602-266-7464 in Phoenix, 520-293-4336 in Tucson or www.azopera.org.