Major Operas | Orphée aux enfers by Jacques Offenbach | High Romantic
Composed: 1858; rev. 1874
Premiered: 1874, Paris
Libretto by Crémieux and Halévy
Eurydice cannot abide her violin virtuoso husband Orphée. She would rather die than be bored to death. Jealous that she is seeing too much of the beekeeper Aristée, he tells her about the snakes in Aristée’s cornfield. She goes to warn him and is bitten. Aristée reveals that he is Pluton and whisks her off to Hades. Orphée’s freedom is cut short when Opinion Publique orders him to appeal to the gods on Olympus.
The gods are woken by Diane’s angry account of Jupiter’s interference in her love life. Pluton has been summoned to answer for his actions. As Jupiter reprimands him they are interrupted when the lesser deities rebel against Jupiter’s own hypocrisy. Orphée reluctantly puts his case and all the gods demand an adventure in Hades to ensure Pluton returns Eurydice.
Eurydice had expected endless infernal orgies, but instead she is locked away in the care of John Styx, who tries to forget his past with Lethe water. Eurydice is hidden when Pluton arrives with Jupiter, but Cupidon sees her next door and helps Jupiter to return as a fly. Jupiter allows himself to be caught, reveals his true identity and arranges to take her away.
The party builds up from stately dancing to a wild gallop. Pluton prevents Jupiter from escaping with Eurydice. Cupidon suggests making Orphée’s return to earth with Eurydice conditional on him not looking back. As they leave, Jupiter throws a thunderbolt and Orphée turns. Eurydice chooses to become a bacchante. Only Opinion Publique is unhappy.
An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...
Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.
The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.
Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers
his life, music, art and movies, with a
sweep of incredible photographs.