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Summary

24 Oct - 9 Nov 2019

Playhouse, QPAC

Opera Queensland in association with Circa

Heartbroken Orpheus has been granted the chance to bring his dead wife Eurydice back from the underworld with one condition; he must not look at her – even for a moment – on their long journey home. But how can he resist the temptation to look into the eyes of his true love?

Created by Opera Queensland, in association with internationally renowned contemporary circus company Circa, and set to some of the most stirring music ever written; this is opera like you’ve never seen before – mixing thrilling acrobatics, exquisite singing and striking video design to take us to hell and back.

This production contains infrequent partial nudity

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Reviews

29 Oct 2019

Opera and Circus are strange bedfellows. In this performance, they were also strange lovers.

Opera and Circus are strange bedfellows indeed.

The concept of combining the two in this classic opera, performed by Queensland Opera and Circa, is an interesting idea - and it kind of worked.

Directed by Yaron Lifschitz and with Owen Willetts and Natalie Christie Peluso in the lead roles, the promise was of something breathtaking, to transport us to the dark depths of death where Orpheus pines for his dead wife Eurydice and yearns for her return to his life.

Willetts as Orpheus…

Opera and Circus are strange bedfellows indeed.

The concept of combining the two in this classic opera, performed by Queensland Opera and Circa, is an interesting idea - and it kind of worked.

Directed by Yaron Lifschitz and with Owen Willetts and Natalie Christie Peluso in the lead roles, the promise was of something breathtaking, to transport us to the dark depths of death where Orpheus pines for his dead wife Eurydice and yearns for her return to his life.

Willetts as Orpheus was outstanding, inhabiting grief and sharing it with his astonishing countertenor voice.

His expression through both voice and body is amazing. He left his co-star for dead in more ways than one.

Peluso needed a microphone - her voice faded into the background by comparison to Willetts.

She also struggled at times with pitch.

At the risk of offending, it felt like she was late to rehearsal or was a last-minute use of an understudy.

The circus was sloppy in places and while it certainly added to the performance and made it something fresh and different, the same could have been achieved with dance, excepting the aerial work, of course.

A number of the performers were exceptional, and the opera chorus was a real pleasure.

I liked the show, I didn't love it and so I felt disappointed.

Maybe I am a stuffy old queen who is a traditionalist when it comes to the art of opera - part of the audience felt it was worth a standing ovation, others remained in their seat.

I know this was one performance and friends who were in the audience utterly enjoyed it for what it was.

My opera virgin date was enchanted and also utterly enjoyed the show.

Perhaps it’s just me but I wanted better.

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Pete Dillon
veteran
29 Oct 2019

Triumph of Love

Beautifully done show.

The voices were absolutely stunning.

The minimalistic stage and costumes allow you to focus on the emotions in the movements and the voices on stage.

The piece is modern, but still draws you into the ultimate love story.

Very moving!

Joanna Fack
veteran
29 Oct 2019

I could easily follow the singing with the sub-titles and the acrobatic display was visually powerful

Wow - what an exciting show we got to see last night.

Queensland Opera and Queensland Symphony Orchestra have done a great job with the production of the Orpheus and Eurydice love story that is appealing to a crowd who probably don't normally go to the theatre.

The circus company's acrobatics added a brilliant visually powerful display during the whole production.

I could easily follow the storyline being sung in Italian with English subtitles clearly displayed for easy following.

I have never been to…

Wow - what an exciting show we got to see last night.

Queensland Opera and Queensland Symphony Orchestra have done a great job with the production of the Orpheus and Eurydice love story that is appealing to a crowd who probably don't normally go to the theatre.

The circus company's acrobatics added a brilliant visually powerful display during the whole production.

I could easily follow the storyline being sung in Italian with English subtitles clearly displayed for easy following.

I have never been to the Opera before and was totally enthralled during the whole show to see what was going to happen next.

I appreciated the beautiful singing and music of this elegant production.

All the audience gave the production a standing ovation.

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Christine Spillane
virgin
29 Oct 2019

A unique contemporary mix of talents resulting in an AMAZING performance

Orpheus & Eurydice is the final production of Opera Queensland's 2019 season and what a way to finish!

A bold and striking performance sung in Italian with English subtitles that seemed to magically disappear into thin air.

Minimalist stage sets and costuming with a hint of Handmaid's Tale lets you focus on all the amazing athleticism of the circus performers that is taking place in this stark bare asylum.

It’s a modern and edgy way to tell the tragic love story of Orpheus…

Orpheus & Eurydice is the final production of Opera Queensland's 2019 season and what a way to finish!

A bold and striking performance sung in Italian with English subtitles that seemed to magically disappear into thin air.

Minimalist stage sets and costuming with a hint of Handmaid's Tale lets you focus on all the amazing athleticism of the circus performers that is taking place in this stark bare asylum.

It’s a modern and edgy way to tell the tragic love story of Orpheus and Eurydice.

The beautiful sounds of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Opera Queensland Chorus weave their magic into the performance as does the amazing antics of the Orpheus and Eurydice Circa Ensemble who astound and, at times, left the audience gasping in disbelief.

Even for the uninitiated, this is an amazing performance all brought together beautifully by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

One word – AMAZING!!

Congratulations Opera Queensland.

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Brenda Owen
veteran
26 Oct 2019

Unexpected collision of opera and acrobatic performances

I was mesmerised as soon as the lights came on and a woman dressed in red came down from the roof, flying acrobatically through the air, coming close to potential death at any time.

I was entranced by the music, accompanied by the traditional Italian style of opera.

With the translation on the wall behind the singers and acrobats, it was hard to follow along with the story.

If you were not familiar with the story, then you would have been considerably lost.

I…

I was mesmerised as soon as the lights came on and a woman dressed in red came down from the roof, flying acrobatically through the air, coming close to potential death at any time.

I was entranced by the music, accompanied by the traditional Italian style of opera.

With the translation on the wall behind the singers and acrobats, it was hard to follow along with the story.

If you were not familiar with the story, then you would have been considerably lost.

I thoroughly enjoyed the acrobatic skills and the symbolism of the production.

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Simone Healy
veteran
26 Oct 2019

An interesting if not overwhelming introduction to opera

My and my plus one's first opera experience!

I wasn’t sure what to expect and was mainly just hoping I would be able to understand what was going on!

From the little research I had done on the storyline prior to the show, I was already hooked on the tragic romance.

Whilst waiting for my tickets I realised I was the youngest by probably forty years.

Think many wheelie walkers.

The start was both dramatic and capturing.

The use of aerial dance throughout the opera had…

My and my plus one's first opera experience!

I wasn’t sure what to expect and was mainly just hoping I would be able to understand what was going on!

From the little research I had done on the storyline prior to the show, I was already hooked on the tragic romance.

Whilst waiting for my tickets I realised I was the youngest by probably forty years.

Think many wheelie walkers.

The start was both dramatic and capturing.

The use of aerial dance throughout the opera had us both gasping several times throughout the opera, it was incredible to watch.

I also thought the musicians were fantastic.

Special shout out to the harp player who had me mesmerized several times.

Now to the actual singing.

Both stars were clearly incredible at what they do.

To sing beautifully operatic is one thing but to do so in fluent Italian is a whole other level of impressive.

There were a few issues though.

I felt at times the incredible, and frankly distracting, dancing took away from the focus of the day, the opera singers.

There was a lot to focus on with up to 8 dancers on the floor, aerial dancers, the chorus and subtitles to try and read.

At times I forwent reading the subtitles in order to focus on the dancers or the two lovers however then was a bit lost at where we were in the storyline.

Overall, my impression was whilst this was a beautiful performance, there was a lot going on.

An interesting, if not overwhelming, introduction to opera.

I will be back for further Opera Queensland performances for sure.

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Jessica Grumelart
virgin
26 Oct 2019

Is #Circopera our new favourite genre?!

I could be wrong but a standing ovation at a Saturday matinee is a rare thing... then again, the new production of Orpheus and Eurydice by Opera Queensland with Circa is exceptional so I understand the surfeit of emotion enticing people to stand up and applaud!

Sitting in the Playhouse at QPAC, I had to pinch myself several times that I was in fact in Brisbane and not at opening night of the Edinburgh Festival or an even more hipster venue…

I could be wrong but a standing ovation at a Saturday matinee is a rare thing... then again, the new production of Orpheus and Eurydice by Opera Queensland with Circa is exceptional so I understand the surfeit of emotion enticing people to stand up and applaud!

Sitting in the Playhouse at QPAC, I had to pinch myself several times that I was in fact in Brisbane and not at opening night of the Edinburgh Festival or an even more hipster venue in somewhere like Berlin or Rotterdam or Helsinki.

What I'm trying to say is that this was one cool opera, or circus, or circopera or whatever you'd like to call it.

I've been a fan of Gluck's opera ever since I no doubt butchered the Dance of the Blessed Spirits on flute as a kid.

This production is the opposite of a butchering with every element schmick and sleek: exceptional staging, clever lighting, amazing set and even imaginative surtitles (yes, when was the last time the surtitles made it into a review as an outstanding feature?) combined with the incredible performers from Circa cement this as 90 minutes of pure pleasure to watch.

Orpheus and Eurydice is a simple story.

I'd say it's about a woman who unfortunately died (but was happy in the afterlife) being stalked by her Stage Five Clinger of a boyf who just couldn't let go.

Even given a second chance by Love herself, Orpheus can't seem to manage the ONE JOB he had of not looking back.

Sure it makes for a great lament in "Che farò senza Euridice?", but seriously, one job mate.

I really can't recommend this production enough!

And I just can't wait to see what Opera Queensland does next!

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Emily Philip
veteran
24 Oct 2019

If you go to one opera this year, make it Orpheus & Eurydice

This extraordinary production feels more like stepping into a contemporary art gallery than passively watching a show.

Written by Gluck in 1762, this magnificent mythic tale of love, loss, grief and redemption is catapulted into the 21st century thanks to clever, minimalist staging and the ingenious addition of Brisbane’s very own Circa to the accomplished Opera Queensland ensemble.

OQ’s two leads Owen Willets and Natalie Christie Peluso play the star-crossed lovers with intensity.

Countertenor Willetts is delightful as the tormented, youthful Orpheus, while…

This extraordinary production feels more like stepping into a contemporary art gallery than passively watching a show.

Written by Gluck in 1762, this magnificent mythic tale of love, loss, grief and redemption is catapulted into the 21st century thanks to clever, minimalist staging and the ingenious addition of Brisbane’s very own Circa to the accomplished Opera Queensland ensemble.

OQ’s two leads Owen Willets and Natalie Christie Peluso play the star-crossed lovers with intensity.

Countertenor Willetts is delightful as the tormented, youthful Orpheus, while Christie Peluso’s portrayal of Eurydice is strong and sensual.

Circa provides the physical drama, with eight of the strongest, most flexible, acrobatic performers imaginable.

Using ropes and silk, they suspend themselves metres above the stage, lowering into the underworld.

They literally throw themselves at each other; they flip, and turn, gyrate and writhe bringing Orpheus and Eurydice’s anguish to a terrifying reality.

The staging is all white, with subtitles projected onto the back wall, which evaporates into smoke, adding to the mythic drama of the production.

Costuming follows the pared downstaging with characters clad in black, red and white.

All performers are barefooted which brings a freshness and equality to their presence.

At one magical point in the production, Eurydice is bemoaning her love for Orpheus and is surrounded by three female Circa performers who surround her, creating a moveable, three-dimensional version of Matisse’s painting ‘Dance’—absolutely breathtaking.

The score is lilting and light one moment, anguished and distressed the next and is ably brought to life by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

There is a wonderful accessibility about Orpheus & Eurydice, teenagers and opera buffs alike will revel in its splendour.

The triumph of love is there for all to witness.

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Jo Evans
veteran
24 Oct 2019

A beautiful blend of art forms for both your eyes and your ears

When the curtain came down on this show, my brain felt like it had been through a blender - in a good way.

Watching Orpheus & Eurydice, there is so much to digest both audibly and visually.

In ninety minutes, the creative team deliver a combination of circus, opera and music, all in one beautiful bucket.

I really have to commend the creatives involved - from the orchestra, circus, singers, set design and costuming - everything ties in and presents like a neatly…

When the curtain came down on this show, my brain felt like it had been through a blender - in a good way.

Watching Orpheus & Eurydice, there is so much to digest both audibly and visually.

In ninety minutes, the creative team deliver a combination of circus, opera and music, all in one beautiful bucket.

I really have to commend the creatives involved - from the orchestra, circus, singers, set design and costuming - everything ties in and presents like a neatly packaged parcel.

Gluck’s simplicity is echoed in the production through the set design especially.

This provides a necessary contrast to the constant visual movement from the circus.

Extremely clever, and delightful to watch the exploration of such a minimalist set.

I will say that whilst the blend of art forms was uniquely exciting, it was also overwhelming at times.

A slight balance adjustment in sections to hone in on the beautiful moments that exist within the piece would elevate the experience even more.

In saying that, Orpheus & Eurydice is expertly executed and I would encourage both new and repeat opera audiences to experience it for themselves.

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Molly St John Mosse
veteran
24 Oct 2019

This is opera like you’ve never experienced before!

I was very excited to see the contemporary concept of the epic Greek mythical tale Orpheus and Eurydice by Christoph Willibald Gluck.

Brisbane circus company Circa teamed up their thrilling fusion of acrobatics with classical music and opera to produce a visually stunning show.

Heartbroken Orpheus has been granted the chance to bring his beloved wife Eurydice back from the underworld with one condition: he must not look at her – even for a moment – on their perilous journey home.

But can he resist the…

I was very excited to see the contemporary concept of the epic Greek mythical tale Orpheus and Eurydice by Christoph Willibald Gluck.

Brisbane circus company Circa teamed up their thrilling fusion of acrobatics with classical music and opera to produce a visually stunning show.

Heartbroken Orpheus has been granted the chance to bring his beloved wife Eurydice back from the underworld with one condition: he must not look at her – even for a moment – on their perilous journey home.

But can he resist the desire to look into the eyes of his true love?

From the opening scene where Eurydice descends from the ceiling writhing in positions you didn’t think possible mid-air to the closing scene where Orpheus uses his hands to paint in blood on the wall ‘THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE’, I was enthralled by the tenors and sopranos belting out their resounding best, accompanied by sublime, orchestral music and the circus performer’s raw physicality of movement.

The minimalist set with the stark, white walls contrasted beautifully with the black, white, red and nude costumes, and the subtitled projections on the wall disappearing into smoke highlighted the grief and longing that the central characters portrayed in their heartbreaking journey of love and loss.

Owen Willett’s astonishing countertenor voice conveyed such beauty, yet darkness in Orpheus’ torturous passage of despair on stage and was a highlight for me, while Natalie Christie Peluso’s exquisite and sensuous portrayal of Eurydice was equally as moving.

At times, it was hard to choose what to focus on, as the 8 incredible acrobatic performers thrashing and contorting in the background, forming literal towers of strength and manipulating themselves on ropes and silks kept tearing my attention away from reading the subtitles and listening to the opera.

So much artistry going on - there was never a dull moment.

A truly wonderful production that brought the tragic saga Orpheus and Eurydice to vivid life through 90 minutes of spectacular acrobatics, superb singing and heavenly music.

Would highly recommend.

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Jodie Charles
veteran
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