Orphee et Eurydice

Seattle Opera's production of Gluck's 1762 opera (in the French rewrite of 1774) is uncluttered but telling and lovely, with stirring choral work (they're onstage almost always) and attractive dance interludes from a seven-member troupe, choreographed by Yannis Adoniou. The tale begins in medias res with Eurydice's funeral, affectingly staged by Jose Maria Condemi as a procession of chorus members, robed in black, who wind their way across the stage and make sharp silhouettes against the champagne-colored rear wall. Amour's witty entrance—a surprise I won't spoil—relieves the gloom and sends Orphee, after a triumphantly ornate aria, on a quest to bring his love back from Hades, portrayed by a lurid scab-red backdrop resembling nerves and tendons. With Heidi Zamora's costumes (stretchy cowls that the chorus and dancers pull up over their grimacing faces and angled arms), it all looks a bit like a choir of Munch Screams in a Fantastic Voyage nightmare. Of the small cast—two-thirds of whom are mentioned in the title—William Burden's Orphee bears the largest burden. A core of ardent pathos framed by the somber stylization of the staging, Burden was emotionally convincing throughout. Davinia Rodriguez matched his passion during Eurydice's brief interludes of resurrection, and made me want to hear more of her, maybe in one of Verdi or Puccini's big, throbbing heroine roles. Julianne Gearhart made a Puck-like, fresh-voiced Amour. GAVIN BORCHERT (See Gavin's full review.)

Sat., Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m.; Wed., Feb. 29, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., March 3, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 4, 2 p.m.; Wed., March 7, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., March 10, 7:30 p.m., 2012

 
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