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Christoph Willibald Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice

Azione teatrale per musica in three acts
Text by Raniero de'Calzabigi

New production
In Italian with German and English surtitles


  • 31 July 2010, 19:30


  • 03 August 2010, 20:00
  • 07 August 2010, 20:00
  • 13 August 2010, 20:00
  • 19 August 2010, 20:00
  • 21 August 2010, 20:00
  • 24 August 2010, 20:00

Print programme (PDF)


Riccardo Muti, Conductor
Dieter Dorn, Stage Director
Jürgen Rose, Set Design and Costume Design
Tobias Löffler, Lighting
Ramses Sigl, Choreography
Hans-Joachim Ruckhäberle, Dramaturgy
Thomas Lang, Chorus Director


In the beginning, the beloved dies: grief, lamenting, pain, loneliness and defiance; in the end, the victory of love and music. Orpheus does not accept Eurydice’s death, he demands her return; if need be, he will bring her back from the underworld by force. The interference of the gods in the shape of Eros is not only an act of mercy. Orpheus is taken at his word: he is allowed to descend to the netherworld and retrieve his beloved wife, on the condition that he does not look at her and gives her no explanation. With the help of the power of music, Orpheus overcomes all obstacles, except for Eurydice’s resistance: she wants him to look at her and desire her, consciously. He cannot resist her, and she dies a second time. Orpheus wants to die with her. However, there is another life for the lovers, this time as a gift from the gods.
Gluck’s azione teatrale per musica, premiered in 1762 in Vienna, irritates its audiences with its subjectivity and intimacy. The figures are taken from mythology; but everything that happens is motivated by love alone. There is no empire to be saved, no children, no social obligations, but no guilt either. Thus, the happy ending – often considered conventional – is actually a celebration of the absoluteness of individual feeling and its triumph over the absolutism of any power.

Hans-Joachim Ruckhäberle