Orpheus in the Underworld
The brilliant German-born musical satirist, Jacques Offenbach, had thirty-three operetta productions behind him when his version of the ‘Orpheus’ legend burst on the scene in Paris at the height of the reign of Emperor Napoleon III. His work was a ‘succes de scandale’ which ran for 228 performances and brought Offenbach fame, fortune, and French citizenship and set all of Paris humming its enchanting tunes. A once outmoded dance, the frenetic ‘Cancan,’ brought down the house each night with its flamboyance and vitality.
The operetta’s irreverent parody of Classical mythology, Gluck’s earlier opera, and the foibles and follies of French society during the Second Empire delighted its audiences, who caught all the contemporary references.
The young painter, Gustav Dore, designed original costumes with witty allusions to Napoleon III and his court, whose amorous dalliances and intrigues were hot topics in the tabloids of the day. Even without such allusions, the ‘gods’ of the Orpheus legend embody an abundance of human quirks and frailties which has assured the operetta’s popularity for all time!
Book by Hector Crémieux and Ludovic Halévy. David Walsh, director. Mark Russell Smith, conductor. Sung in French with supertitles, dialogues in English. General admission seating. Pre-opera lobby discussions begin 45 minutes before each performance.
Thursday, Apr 26 at 7:30pm
Friday, Apr 27 at 7:30pm
Saturday, Apr 28 at 7:30pm
Sunday, Apr 29 at 1:30pm
Tickets: Buy tickets online or 612-624-2345
$20 adults (advance)/$25 adults (week of opera); $5 students, children; $15 for U of M retirees, alumni, faculty, and staff