Houston, TX (March 9, 2016) – Opera in the Heights (Oh!) presents Christoph W. Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, based on the myth of Orpheus, as the final offering of the 20th anniversary season, running April 8 – 16.Orfeo ed Euridice is the first of Gluck’s “reform” operas, in which he attempted to replace the arcane plots and ornate vocalism of 18th century opera seria with a more direct and naturalistic expression in the music and drama.
Sung in Italian, this production uses an edition created for the opera’s 1889 Milan revival, which brings together some of Gluck’s most beloved tunes including “The Dance of the Blessed Spirits,” and the iconic aria, “Che farò senza Euridice.” Opera in the Heights offers a unique opportunity for both opera buffs and newcomers alike to see a magnificent and rarely-staged opera.
A whirlwind of tragedy, adventure and love, the opera is based on one of the oldest Greek myths about death, and the obsessive power of love which propels an unforgettable journey. Refusing to accept that his beloved is dead, Orpheus (Orfeo) strikes a bargain with the Gods to allow him to journey through the underworld, and retrieve her. The catch? He can’t look at her until they are both safely back on earth.
What happens next? Come and see Opera in the Heights’ production with stage director Leslie Swackhamer and principal conductor Eiki Isomura leading the artistic charge, and you can find the answer.
“Our production will embrace the mythic, the mysterious and the miraculous, as we reconnect with what made Gluck’s opera revolutionary from the beginning,” says Swackhamer. “I’m excited to have Krissy Richmond work on movement and dance, which is so pivotal in this opera. She is a consummate artist, having been a Principal Dancer with the Houston Ballet, and going on to enjoy an international career. A Houston treasure, she brings elegance and creativity to everything she touches.”
Swackhamer was named Best Director for 2015 by the Houston Press for Marie Antoinette at Stages Repertory Theatre, while Barry Doss won for Best Costume Design. Next season, Swackhamer will be directing at the San Francisco Opera and Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. She represents the high caliber of Oh!’s stage directors.
“Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice was a game-changer for opera,” explains Isomura. “At a time when the art form had become a vehicle for vocal display, Gluck sought to integrate all the aspects of the medium, stripping away anything he considered superfluous, in service of authentic storytelling. It proved a powerful model for opera as a total art form, influencing generations of progressive composers ranging from Mozart to Wagner.”
Isomura noted that the production demands the highest level of artistry in every area, and that fully-staged productions like Oh!’s are exceedingly rare. He believes an outstanding team of artists has come together to breathe new life into this classic.
Performance dates are April 8, 14 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and April 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale online now atoperaintheheights.org. Single tickets prices are $35 – $67 for regular tickets, $32 – $58 for seniors and $15 – $17 for student tickets in limited seating areas. Parents of children 16 and under can purchase premier seats with a special ticket price just for kids during checkout. All performances take place at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Boulevard.
Opera in the Heights is a professional opera company that exists to provide a stage for emerging performers and to bring affordable opera to the Greater Houston Area. All operas are fully staged with orchestra and presented in the original language with English translation (where applicable) projected above the stage.
For additional information on performance dates, press material, or information on scheduling an interview, please contact: Carol Brejot, 713-503-3885;
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