Orphée, London Coliseum - ★★★★★ - Until November 29, 2019


Once again ENO has taken on a very difficult piece, but here the nettle is firmly grasped and a mesmeric piece of music theatre results. Netia Jones' outstanding new staging of Philip Glass' 1993 opera, which is itself closely based on Jean Cocteau's 1950 film, asks us to ponder whether life is a dream and questions whether art seduces one away from real human concerns. Conductor Geoffrey Paterson gives us every nuance of the subtly expressive vocal and instrumental writing which includes musical echoes of Nadia Boulanger and Darius Milhaud. Lizzie Clachan's expressionistic sets retain a dream-like quality in Act One with everything sliding slowly across the stage. When we go to the Underworld in Act Two moving walls are covered with drifting projections of catacombs. The singing is excellent throughout with a big cast led by Nicholas Lester as Orphée and Sarah Tynan as Eurydice. However, the voices that particularly stood out for us were those of Jennifer France and Nicky Spence. France's gorgeous coloratura shines whilst Spence's incisively ringing tenor makes every word clear as a bell. The director asks us to look into the abyss and holds up a mirror to a mirror thus creating a thoroughly fascinating and rewarding evening at the opera.

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Alastair Muir, 2019.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until November 29, 2019
Nov 15, 18, 20, 25, 27, 29 at 7:30 pm
London Coliseum
Nearest station: Charing Cross
https://www.eno.org/whats-on/orphee/

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