Justus-Liebig-Universität GießenInstitut für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft

Orpheus Moments

»Orfeo« constitutes the beginning of opera – multiple adaptations have upgraded the impact of opera as an art formand still influence the contemporary music theatre up to the present. However, Orpheus is not only a topos of music history but also the prototype of the musician and artist, an allegory of the human capability to create permanent things, to widen and to go beyond one's own world. His chant accomplishes emancipation, his individual skills disabuse himself from the rules of his environment. In that way he is also a predecessor of the modern subject. He plays his lyre, and he plays with the gods until his most human skill – to doubt – thwarts his plans. By turning around, changing his direction, he is deflected from all given paths. In the more than fifty surviving musical versions of the Orpheus myth throughout the history of opera this turning-around of Orpheus has been motivated quite diversely. It is also the pivot of this new interpretation.
The result of his doubts is again the loss of his beloved – as Ovid wrote: »And he, unhappy man, stretching out his arms to hold her and be held, clutched at nothing but the receding air.« But the motivation is a different, a new one, that shall not be told yet.

Produced at the 61st International Festival of Contemporary Music at the Biennale di Venezia.