ORFEO ED EURIDICE
A film adaptation of great emotional depth, starring the incomparable Bejun Mehta as Orfeo
What better showcase for the extraordinary talent of countertenor Bejun Mehta then the Baroque theater of the Cesky Krumlov Castle! Rebuilt in 1768 and recently restored, the theater – with its original, functioning machinery, decorations, costumes, props, etc. – provides an ideal backdrop for one of the most important operas in music history, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice of 1762.
Taking a cue from Ingmar Bergman’s celebrated film adaptation of Mozart’s Magic Flute in the Baroque theater of Drottningholm, director Ondrej Havelka captures much more than the hauntingly beautiful music of Gluck performed by singers on stage. He chooses a cinematic approach that literally takes us behind the scenes, into the hall, and down into dark corridors deep below the theater.
The mixture of period details – the orchestra in 18th-century costumes and seated at a long table in front of the stage, as in the late Baroque period – and modern psychological interpretation cannot fail to grip the viewer. The immortal myth of a lover’s power to bring his beloved back to life with music assumes a new dimension here, with an ingenious depiction of Euridice’s death, and Orfeo bringing about a most unexpected ending...
“Bejun Mehta is arguably the best countertenor in the world today” wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung, and in the role of Orfeo, he lends credibility to the emotions tormenting his heart. As Euridice, Austrian soprano Eva Liebau juggles joy and jealousy as the beloved who doesn’t realize just how lucky she is. Bringing comic relief to the work’s dark tone is Regula Mühlemann as Amor, who cheerily sends mortals zigzaging on their way to life, love – and, maybe, death.