Performing new music is an important part of the mission of any
orchestra – even when the music is new because it’s old.
Rapids Symphony joins Opera Grand Rapids this weekend to give the Midwest
premiere of an opera that’s more than 240 year old.
Willibald Gluck’s “Orphée et
Eurydice,” a ground-breaking work that would influence opera composers for the
next 100 years, opens tonight in the DeVos Center for Arts and Worship at Grand
Rapids Christian High School.
Timothy Nelson conducts the Grand Rapids Symphony for two performances at 7:30
p.m. Friday and Saturday April 8-9, 2016.
“What makes ‘Orphée’ so amazing,
if you take out the dance music, it's 90 minutes of music straight through. It's just incredibly beautiful," Nelson told Broadway World in March.
The mythological tale is the story
of Orpheus, whose beloved Eurydice is claimed by death, leading the legendary
musician to venture into Hades to return her to the land of the living.
Grand Rapids’ production of an ancient story, composed in the classical era,
costumed in modern dress, transcends time. With minimal sets and lights, the
Italian opera with a French libretto by a German composer transcends space and
cultural as well.
“Gluck is showing things for how
simple they are – three characters, terribly direct, and a story of what happens
when you suffer a great loss,” Nelson said. “My vision is to keep it as simple
as possible – to make it timeless, and to bring out everything in it to convey
Orpheus is played by American-Canadian
Zach Finkelstein, a haute-contre tenor, a rare, high tenor voice that was
favored in the French baroque and classical era.
Sopranos Clara Rottsolk appears
as Eurydice and as Chelsea Morris Shephard as the goddess of love, Amour.
includes choreography and dance by Hope College's H2 Dance Company with members
of Opera Grand Rapids Chorus singing as well as participating in the
In the United States, the only
known productions of “Orphée et Eurydice” have been performed in New York City,
Philadelphia and Seattle previously.
begin at $25. Student tickets are $5. Call Opera Grand Rapids Box Office, at
(616) 451-2741, or Ticketmaster outlets.