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05. January 2014

Orphée aux enfers

Operetta by Jacques Offenbach | Arrangement: Christoph Israel | German text edition: Thomas Pigor

An operetta in an unusual shape - without a large orchestra, but with combo sounds and absurd wit. The opera, theater and film director Philipp Stölzl created a »new Offenbach« with actors and singers in 2011.

The marriage of Orpheus and Eurydice ...

An operetta in an unusual shape - without a large orchestra, but with combo sounds and absurd wit. The opera, theater and film director Philipp Stölzl created a »new Offenbach« with actors and singers in 2011.

The marriage of Orpheus and Eurydice has become absolutely unbearable. Eurydice, the daughter of a real existing demigod is unfortunately tied to Greece's dullest man. Apart from the introduction of the hexameter he hasn’t brought anything worth mentioning to the world. So that’s enough. Both have already taken refuge in the arms of other promising lovers. But then Eurydice dies and is gone with her beloved Pluto …

The absurd and witty reworking of the libretto by Thomas Pigor and arrangement for small orchestra by Israel Christoph bring the disrespect of the original work to the full extend. Completely in the spirit of Offenbach, five sometimes passionately singing actors perform, while the virtuoso singing is reserved for Eurydice.


Sung in German
2:35 h | including 1 interval
  • Synopsis

    ACT one

    Scene 1 | In front of Aristeus cottage
    Orpheus and Eurydice, the model-couple of the ancient world, drifted apart. Orpheus, ambitious violinist and creator of the hexameter, cheats on his wife with all kinds of nymph. Eurydice is in love with the shepherd Aristeus. Both agree on the fact, that a divorce would be the best solution. But therewith the Public Opinion disagrees, he appeals to the moral of the married couple and urges them to accommodate with their situation.

    Eurydice doesn’t yet know at that time, that her lover Aristeus is in fact Pluto, the god of the underworld. His aim is to kidnap Eurydice and bring her to the underworld, which succeeds by the aid of a poisonous snake. Orpheus is even more satisfied with this development and feels ready to spent time on his nymphs. But again the Public Opinion puts a spoke on his wheel. He forces him to fulfil his ancient role by saving Eurydice. The Public Opinion and Orpheus f ly subsequently in the divine world.

    Scene 2 | Olympus
    At the gods on the Olympus prevails hangover feeling after an obviously boisterous night. The king of the gods, Jupiter, amused himself with other women and gets into a dispute with his wife Juno. She accuses him of being the kidnapper of Eurydice. The other attendees support this suspicion too. Jupiter vehemently refuses.

    Meanwhile Orpheus and the Public Opinion arrived at Olympus. After a short confusion the relations clear themselves and Pluto is detected as the kidnapper of Eurydice. Although Pluto denies, Jupiter adjudges Eurydice official to Orpheus. To solve the case altogether, Jupiter and the others decide to travel into the underworld.


    ACT two

    Scene 3 | Hell
    Eurydice is bored because of the monotony of the underworld. In addition to this, drunken Styx makes advances to her, while Pluto doesn’t care of her.

    In the meantime Pluto shows his visitors his domain. They encounter Eurydice, who is very disappointed in Pluto’s behaviour. Jupiter falls directly in love with the invectively Eurydice. Out of all senses he considers how he could capture Eurydice. The other gods advise him to transform himself into a fly.

    As a fly he debauches Eurydice and they decide to spend their future together. To leave the underworld unseen, Jupiter transforms Eurydice into a fly too.

    Scene 4 | Ballroom in the hell
    Pluto gives a lavish celebration in the hell. Jupiter and Eurydice getting around to escape through the only exit of the hell – the ballroom. Pluto realizes their plan and tries to avoid their getaway. But then Juno appears and Jupiter himself has to detract from the plan with Eurydice. He penalizes Pluto for the kidnapping of Eurydice. With a heavy heart he gives Eurydice back to Orpheus, provided that Orpheus doesn’t look behind him to Eurydice on their way out of the hell. But nevertheless, Orpheus looks back and so the marriage of the two is forever but fortunately lost. Happy Eurydice has to stay in the underworld.