The Opera: Revisiting the tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice

The greatest opera stars from the Plácido Domingo’s Centre of Perfeccionament will sing gorgeous arias from famous Italian composers in a unique musical production that will  create an exciting new operatic experience for Muscat audiences. Superb live performances with brilliant young talent, fabulous sets and realistic video projection make the show truly spectacular. The sets include an amazing doorway, unveiled as a gateway into the history of opera. The door opens unto a grand old hotel lobby, Art Deco in style, where vivid image projections bring opera’s changing times and places to life in three-dimensional reality.
The story for The Opera! was inspired by the Greek tragedy, Orpheus and Eurydice. As told by the ancient Greek poets, Virgil and Ovid, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of the most compelling in literature. It is a haunting tale of love and loss, of great courage thwarted by momentary human weakness. It is, at the same time, an ode to the beauty and nobility of music. As the son of Apollo and the muse, Calliope, Orpheus was given a lyre and the gift of music. When Orpheus played the lyre and sang, nothing on earth could resist the power of his music.
Orpheus fell deeply in love with the divinely beautiful wood nymph, Eurydice, and it was his music that bound them together, heart and soul, forever. Orpheus and Eurydice were married in a joyful ceremony, but as they walked together over fields to their wedding chamber, Eurydice stepped on a viper and was fatally poisoned. Orpheus could not accept this cruel turn of fate and called upon his father, the god, Apollo who advised Orpheus to journey to the Underworld and ask the ruler, King Hades (Pluto), Apollo’s brother, to release Eurydice.
Orpheus embarked on the fearsome journey to the Underworld and charmed the terrible guardians at the gates of hell and its dreadful creatures with the spell of his singing and the music of his lyre. His beautiful, heart-wrenching song drew tears down the cheek of King Hades (Pluto) and melted the steely heart of his Queen, Persephone. Orpheus could not be refused. Eurydice was given to Orpheus on the condition that he would not look back at her as she followed him, until they had reached the light of the living world.
As he climbed up and up out of the darkness, Orpheus knew that Eurydice must be just behind him, but he longed to glance back to make sure. When at last he stepped into the radiance of daylight, Orpheus turned to Eurydice, but it was too soon, as she was still in the darkness of the cavern. He held out his arms to clasp her, but in that instant Eurydice vanished. Orpheus heard his forever lost beloved utter only one faint word, “Farewell.”
In The Opera!  this mythological story is given a modern twist. Mesmerized by her beauty, Pluto kidnaps Eurydice on her wedding day and holds her captive in his dreadful underworld kingdom. Disconsolate but determined, Orpheus travels to the Underworld (Hades Hotel) and succeeds in reclaiming his beloved bride. When Orpheus leads Eurydice back to the realm of the living, it is not through a long dark tunnel into the light, but through the settings of famous Italian operas, with music by the acclaimed PKF — Prague Philharmonia, masterfully conducted by Steven Mercurio.
In this natural way, Orpheus and Eurydice, performed by Valentino Buzza and Miriam Battistelli, fall under the spell of the music and slip into the roles of famous lovers, singing their arias. They become heroic characters such as Othello and Desdemona in Verdi’s Othello; Turandot and Calef in Puccini’s Turandot; Violetta and Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata and Mimì and Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème. In the Lobby of Hades Hotel  Orpheus and Eurydice magically journey through places such as Aida’s Egypt; the Paris of La Bohème and La Traviata; Rigoletto’s Court; and, Turandot’s China. Meanwhile, hotel patrons become typical characters in these settings. Orpheus will succeed in rescuing Eurydice, provided he does not look back…
The Royal Opera House Muscat presents The Opera! an unforgettably enchanting opera-musical on March 16, Thursday, 18 Saturday and 19 Sunday at 7:30 pm. For further information and booking consult the ROHM website —  www.rohmuscat.org.om