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Preview: Opera ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’ opens this weekend

The opera Orfeo ed Euridice put on by the School of Music and Dance will open its musical adaptation of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice, directed by Dr. Karen Esquivel this weekend.

The story of Orfeo ed Euridice is a whirlwind of tragedy, adventure and love. The story begins with the two lovers on their wedding day, which is changed in a sick twist of fate when Euridice is bitten by a snake and dies. Devastated by the loss of his new wife, Orfeo pleads with the God of Love (Amore), to let him get her back. Swayed by his adamancy, Amore allows him to make the treacherous journey down through the spheres of the Underworld to retrieve her on one condition: Orfeo cannot look at her until they have completely exited Hades. 

Through the incorporation of the operatic music, intense lighting and special effects, this musical theater experience tells the journey of a Greek demigod who literally goes through Hell and back for love.

The 15-person cast features a select group with vocal performance experience, three of whom are the leads of the play, Orfeo, Euridice and the God of Love. In addition, there is a marriage of music and dance in this performance with the incorporation of some ballet dancers as well. This performance also has a unique twist: all three of the leads (including the male role Orfeo) are played by women.

“It’s what’s called a trouser role,” said Sarah Brauer, who plays Orfeo. “It’s so rare that a mezzo-soprano gets to play the lead in an opera, so I’m just so excited to share this music and to open my heart. This character wears his heart on his sleeve and I feel like it’s such a privilege to be able to step into this character and share that and to sing this gorgeous music.”

Originally, the role was played by a man with a higher range but over the years it has transitioned to typically be a role played by women due to the high vocal range of the character. Brauer said because of the grief and intensity laced within the storyline, many characters like Orfeo have beautiful, moving solos.

“This music is really simple and clean music without a lot of bells and whistles,” said Brauer. “It’s not about the singers showing off, it’s just about the gorgeous beauty of the music. There are so many moments in the music that can make you cry they’re so beautiful.”

Due to production needs, the performance will be held at the Lane Community College stage on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m., just a short bus ride from campus.

Tickets can be purchased for the performance here.

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Jordyn Brown

Jordyn Brown