Think opera is all about Viking hats, long-winded Italian sopranos, and extended death scenes? Think again! Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach is a satiric comedy, taking the traditional myth about the loving couple separated by death and standing it on its head. Sung in English, Orpheus in the Underworld is perfect for the newcomer to opera, as well as great fun for the veteran opera-goer.
Offenbach’s whimsical approach to the Orpheus myth seems to have affected the feel of the rehearsals themselves. Although the work ethic is no less focused than in Gluck rehearsals, the light-hearted nature of the opera shines through in the personalities of the singers and staff, which are as vibrant as the characters they portray. It's easy to see that the singers, conductor, and director love what they do and love planning gags that will make the audience laugh. The singers wear parts of their costumes and their shoes, creating an interesting mix of modern and antiquated clothing. Upbeat tunes and comical staging complete the eclectic atmosphere.
Everyone is looking forward to learning how the various production elements will enhance the cast’s already excellent work. Joyce Castle (Public Opinion) alone, in all her proselytizing glory, is worth the trip to Cooperstown, Jill Gardner's (Eurydice) high notes are sparkling--add in the other hilarious, consummate professionals and you've got magic!