Four new productions — Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, the Gluck/Berlioz Orph_e et Eurydice, Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld and Philip Glass's Orph_e — will run from July 7 through August 28 at the Alice Busch Opera Theater in Cooperstown, New York.
The company's 2007 lineup also includes two concert performances of Haydn's take on the story, L'anima del filosofo, and screenings of films such as Black Orpheus, which sets the Orpheus myth in Rio de Janeiro.
The season opens on July 7 with Offenbach's irreverent operetta Orph_e aux enfers — here, Orpheus in the Underworld — which will be sung in English with a new translation by Glimmerglass dramaturg Kelley Rourke. Tenor Kurt Lehmann will sing the title role, with soprano Jill Gardner as Eurydice, baritone Jake Gardner as Jupiter, and mezzo Joyce Castle as Public Opinion (personified). The production, directed by Eric Einhorn, features sets by Allen Moyer, costumes by Gabriel Berry and lighting by Shawn Kaufman. Jean-Marie Zeitouni conducts.
Berlioz's version of Gluck's masterpiece will open on July 8 and will mark the American premiere of the new B‹renreiter edition. Male soprano Michael Maniaci and soprano Amanda Pabyan will sing the title roles. Lillian Groag directs the production, which features sets by John Conklin, costumes by Constance Hoffman and lighting by Robert Wierzel. Julian Wachner conducts.
To celebrate the 70th birthday of Philip Glass, Glimmerglass will open his version of the myth on July 21. Glass's Orph_e is based on Jean Cocteau's 1949 film of the same name, which the company will screen in conjunction with the production. Soprano Caroline Worra will sing Eurydice; soprano Lisa Saffer will sing La Princesse and tenor Jeffrey Lentz will sing Heurtebise. Anne Manson conducts; the production is directed by Sam Helfrich, with sets by Andrew Lieberman, costumes by Kaye Voyce and lighting by Aaron Black.
L'Orfeo, a co-production with England's Opera North and Norwegian Opera, opens July 28. Tenor Michael Slattery will sing Orfeo and soprano Megan Monaghan will sing Eurydice; Katherine Rohrer will make her Glimmerglass Opera debut as the Messenger and Proserpina; Matthew Garrett will appear as Apollo. Antony Walker, the newly appointed music director of Pittsburgh Opera, will conduct; Christopher Alden directs; sets are by Paul Steinberg; costumes by Doey L‹thi and lighting by Adam Silverman.
Two concert performances of Haydn's L'Anima del Filosofo, on August 5 and 19, will feature soprano Sarah Coburn as Eurydice and tenor Norman Shankle in his company debut as Orpheus, with members of the company's Young American Artists Program and the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Antony Walker will conduct Acts I and II, with Anne Manson taking the podium for Acts III and IV.
Even the company's 2007 slogan, "Don't look back," is inspired by the Orpheus myth.
General and artistic director Michael MacLeod said in a statement, "I felt that the themed productions, along with the accompanying films, seminars and concerts, would provide a new experience that our audiences would appreciate and enjoy enormously. Each opera, although thematically linked, will be dramatically different and, for me, one of the most intriguing aspects of the season will be to observe how five different composers, all geniuses in their own right, interpret this myth."