Jakub Jósef Orlinski, Meigui Zhang and Nicole Heaston headline San Francisco Opera’s “Orpheus and Eurydice”

(Credit: Jiyang Chen)

The San Francisco Opera is set to open a new production of Gluck’s “Orpheus and Eurydice” on November 15, 2022.

The opera will feature countertenor Jakub Jósef Orlinski in his company debut alongside Meigui Zhang and Nicole Heaston. Peter Whelan, in his American debut, will conduct the opera, which will be staged by Matthew Ozawa and choreographed by Rena Butler.

“Two elements make up our production: the memories of Eurydice’s Orpheus and the terrain of her mind. Because emotions and relationships can be so dynamic, we investigate the relationship between Orpheus and Eurydice through richly athletic dance,” Ozawa said in an official press release. “The lovers are doubled as dancers and each Orpheus and Eurydice couple represents a distinct stage in their journey. To describe the landscape of the mind of Orpheus, we collaborated with doctors at the University of California, San Francisco to study brain images of individuals who had suffered trauma. Therefore, each projection we use consists of brain scans or images of neurons and neural pathways. This rich visual tapestry shows our neurobiology, the dance depicts the landscape of memory and the music the emotional journey.

This is only the second season in the company’s 100-year history to present Gluck’s opera in staged form. The company had previously staged ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’ in 1959 starring Blanche Thebom. Then he returned in 1995 in the form of a concert in the French version by Hector Berlioz. This year’s production will be in Italian and will run until December 1, 2022 for a total of five performances.

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