July 13, 2018

Press Release: Portland Opera Presents Gluck’s Ancient Legend, Orfeo ed Euridice

Portland Opera is thrilled to present Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for the very first time in our production history. Based on the myth of Orpheus, this opera tells the tale of a heartbroken Orfeo, who travels the underworld lamenting the death of his beloved, Euridice. Armed with only his lyre, he must charm the furies of Hades before he can try to bring her back to the world of the living. Portland Opera will present five performances of Orfeo ed Euridice on July 27, 29 (matinee), 31, August 2, and 4 at the Newmark Theatre.

This production will be directed by Chas Rader-Shieber, with sets and costumes designed by Jacob Climer—the team that created Portland Opera’s 2013 production of Rinaldo. Conductor and Chorus Master Nicholas Fox leads a principal cast of three artists: mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy, last seen in Portland in the title role of Carmen, who takes on the role of Orfeo for the first time, soprano Lindsay Ohse, former Resident Artist, who will portray Euridice, and current Resident Artist, Helen Huang, who sings the role of Amore, the god of love. Jillian Foley makes her Portland Opera debut as choreographer, and Connie Yun returns to the company as the lighting designer.

Orfeo ed Euridice is ultimately about the power of music. The power of music to touch our souls and save our lives,” says Portland Opera General Director Christopher Mattaliano. “I love what this opera tells us about who we are as human beings.”

This production of Orfeo ed Euridice is made possible by Remy Wines and Work for Art. Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of funders including The Collins Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, Work for Art, the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, and The Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund.

Fun Facts

This is the first time that Portland Opera has performed this work.

Living from 1714 to 1787, Gluck’s music is seen by many as a bridge between Handel and Mozart. Since its premiere in 1762, Orfeo ed Euridice has never left the opera house, and it continues to be the most popular of Gluck’s operas.

There are dozens of interpretations of the Orpheus myth in music, poetry, and art. Between 1599 and 1699 alone, there were more than 20 major adaptations. In the 20th and 21st centuries, we have seen interpretations of the work by Igor Stravinsky, Tennessee Williams, Jean Cocteau, Rainer Maria Rilke, Margaret Atwood, Philip Glass, and Sarah Ruhl.

The role of Orfeo was originally created for an alto castrato (a classical male singing voice equivalent to a female voice, created through castration of the singer before puberty). The role has since been adapted and in modern times, it is typically performed by mezzo-sopranos or countertenors.

Tickets and Information

Performances take place at 7:30PM at the Newmark Theatre, with the exception of the matinee on July 29, which begins at 2:00 PM. One hour prior to curtain, audience members are invited to join a discussion in the theatre that provides context and unique insights into the opera.

As Orfeo ed Euridice will be running in repertory with Rossini’s La Cenerentola, audiences have the opportunity to see both operas during the month of July. More information can be found on our calendar page.

Orfeo ed Euridice will be sung in Italian with projected English translations.

Portland Opera is a proud participant in Arts for All—providing $5 tickets for Oregon Trail Card holders. A limited number of rush tickets (for seniors, students, and United States Armed Forces personnel and their families) are available for performances of Orfeo ed Euridice. Student rush tickets are available online on the Monday before the performances. Call 503-241-1802 for more information.

The performance on July 29 at 2pm will include an audio description of the visual and physical events on stage for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, each performance is visually translated with English text projected above the stage.

Tickets for Orfeo ed Euridice are now available, starting at $35. For more information call Patron Services at 503-241-1802. For more information, patrons may also contact the Opera Concierge at concierge@portlandopera.org.

Orfeo ed Euridice Cast and Creative Team

Sandra Piques Eddy as Orfeo
Helen Huang as Amore
Lindsay Ohse as Euridice

Conductor & Chorus Master, Nicholas Fox
Stage Director, Chas Rader-Shieber
Set & Costume Designer, Jacob A. Climer
Lighting Designer, Connie Yun
Choreographer, Jillian Foley*
Assistant Director, Hayley Glickfield Bielman
Stage Manager, Jon Wangsgard
Principal Accompanist, Jessica Hall

*Indicates Portland Opera Debut

About Portland Opera

Portland Opera exists to inspire, challenge, and uplift its audiences by creating productions of high artistic quality and is proud to be a part of the region’s thriving artistic and business community. We celebrate the beauty and breadth of the opera repertoire with four main stage performances each season. Our 2018 main stage opera season includes Verdi’s Rigoletto, Gounod’s Faust, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. The company is also a committed educational partner, touring operas to schools and community centers throughout Oregon and SW Washington region each year, in addition to a host of other efforts designed to make opera accessible for all.

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Interviews, press comps, artist biographies, and more information available upon request.

Silja Tobin, Marketing & Communications Manager
Portland Opera