Altiveros and Gartner as the mythic couple in Seattle Opera’s ‘O+E.’ Photo by Philip Newton

Altiveros and Gartner as the mythic couple in Seattle Opera’s ‘O+E.’ Photo by Philip Newton

The Women of Seattle Opera Bring a Legend Into the Light

‘O+E’ strips things down for an all-female reimagining of a Greek myth.

The most striking image in O+E, Seattle Opera’s retitled production of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice (1762), is its interpretation of Hades. As the title heroine, O, travels to the underworld to rescue her beloved, the realm’s five demon guardians are decked out in martial gear (specifically Northwest paramilitary survivalists, it looks like) and the focal gesture of Kathryn Van Meter’s choreography for them is the convulsion of a bullet-pierced body. The loveliest one is the white parachute/train Eurydice, aka E, flourishes on her entrance as she and O are briefly reunited. Such simple but effective notions are the hallmark of this unobtrusive reimagining, directed by Kelly Kitchens.

The body of the narrative is the classic Greek myth, but the production’s framing device brings it up to the present(ish) day, with O (Magda Gartner) standing vigil for her hospitalized lover, E (Tess Altiveros). Since Gluck’s original Orpheus was written for a female voice, the difference here is theatrical rather than musical, with O innovatively represented as a female character. The third vowel in the cast is A, for Amor (Serena Eduljee): the personification of love allegorized as a surgeon, a healer.

O+E is performed in a rehearsal room in Seattle Opera’s Terry Avenue studios with the small orchestra, led by Lucy Tucker Yates (who also wrote the elegantly poetic English translation), tucked behind translucent curtains. (Tiered seating has been added; it’s become a three-quarter-round theater.) No formal sets are utilized—and none needed; if you can’t tell, for example, from Gluck’s celestial/pastoral music that Act 2, Scene 2 is set in the Elysian fields, no visuals would help. During Sunday’s performance, the orchestra sounded a bit scrappy here and there, but the entrance of the 13-voice choir (which Gluck uses a lot; they’re practically a fourth character) was a satiny blanket of sound.

O+E

June 7–10, Seattle Opera Studios, $45, seattleopera.org

gborchert@seattleweekly.com

More in Arts & Culture

A view of Seattle Opera’s new home from Mercer Street. Photo by Sean Airhart
Seattle Opera’s New Heart of Glass

From its glittering face to the innovative performance possibilities within, the Opera Center was built for allure.

Minus the Bear is Ready to Hibernate

After 17 years of influential innovation, the Seattle rock band prepares to say goodbye.

Spider-Folks from various dimensions come together in ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.’ Image courtesy Columbia Pictures/Sony
‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Gets Caught in Its Own Web

The animated comic book gets stuck up on its multiverse fan service.

This could be the last time, so why not give the gift of a ticket to the The Rollings Stones’ May concert? Photo by Raph_PH/Wikimedia Commons
Seattle Arts Gift Guide 2018

Get that last-minute shopping done with these books, albums, tickets, and more.

Brandi Carlile Notches Six Grammy Nominations

Fellow Seattleites Alice in Chains, the late Chris Cornell, and the Seattle Symphony also are up for awards.

Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone battle for the queen’s attention in <em>The Favourite</em>. Photo by Atsushi Nishijima/Twentieth Century Fox
Black Comedy with a Regal Veneer

Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz bring catty rivalry to the queen’s court in ‘The Favourite.’

Yalitza Aparicio (left) makes her feature debut as Cleo, the central character in <em>Roma</em>. Photo by Carlos Somonte
‘Roma’ Makes an Epic Film Out of an Intimate Story

Alfonso Cuarón’s memories and vision guide the Spanish-language Oscar front-runner about a young housekeeper in 1970s Mexico.

Most Read