A Visual Opera In Three Movements
Featuring music by John Cage, Bo Holten, Christoph Willibald Gluck
Operation: Orfeo is a musical work that draws on the basic principles of visual art. A reconceptualisation of the opera genre. Causal and dramaturgic sequence in libretto and music is replaced by a series of tableaux and compositions informed by purely visual and auditive principles rather than by dramatic modes of narration. The performance is a visual interpretation which comes to rediscover the basic elements of traditional opera.
The myth about Orpheus’ journey to the underworld is not retold in a direct way. Rather, it serves as a dramaturgical device with the classical division of the myth into three parts informing a series of images translated into a contemporary scenic language. It hints at the mythic narrative without ever illustrating it. The three parts correspond with the stages in which the events of the mythic narrative unfold: the descent, the ascent and the loss – visualised in images of light and shadow, flat surface and depth.
The libretto is a sensuous flow of words performed as symphonic a capella singing. Like a glowing poem it dives into the fluid, colourful and shady underworld of the ocean to re-emerge at the Roof of the World in the middle of a death cult being performed.
The music of the performance creates a play of difference through oppositions that entice and illuminate each other: the tenuous and the voluminous, the sporadic and the unifying, the soloist and the chorus.
The performance is simple like a surgical incision and complicated like major surgery.
Duration: 80min with no intermission
An intelligent and fascinating delirium of mysterious beauty. With the myth of Orpheus, Hotel Pro Forma has arranged the essential.
~Le Soir, Belgium
One of the most epochmaking performances of recent years… it proves to be nothing short of a modern classic.