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Maryland Opera Studio - The Orpheus Adventure

  • The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center 8270 Alumni Drive College Park, MD 20742 (map)

Mark Wanich performs "Mercury" in Offenbach's Orphée aux enfers.

The Maryland Opera Studio pairs two radically different tellings of the Orpheus myth ­— Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers ­— in their fully produced Spring opera. In Gluck’s version, Orpheus, the greatest musician the world has ever known, receives permission from the gods to venture into Hades and bring his beloved Eurydice back from death, but with a cruel stipulation that leads to tragedy.

Offenbach turns the tragic tale on its head; the mythic lovers are a wrangling pair of dissatisfied newlyweds. Orpheus’ music gets on Eurydice’s nerves, and she’s willing to die and go to Hell when a handsome shepherd (really Pluto in disguise) offers her the trip. Only Public Opinion forces Orpheus to seek permission from the gods to follow her.

A full orchestra and large cast of singers and dancers bring this double spectacle to life with beautiful lighting, costumes and sets, an annual collaboration between the School of Music and the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.