Mats Ek: "Orphée"
The dance-opera “Orphée” by Mats Ek for the Swedish Royal Opera is an excit-ing interpretation of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice based on Gluck’s opera “Orphée,” created in 1762 and revised by Berlioz in 1859. The score is honourably interpreted by conductor Sir Richard Armstrong and the Swedish Royal Opera Orchestra.
The stage set is by artist Marie Louise Ekman, who designed the sets for all of Ek’s best known ballets. This time she has created an opening stage set dominated by a big empty oval, flanked by two head stones.
The atmosphere of serene emptiness is both soothing and painful and a strong symbol of the desolate mental state in which Orphée (Anne Sofie von Otter) finds himself. Von Otter is a magnificent singer, not a dancer, but her physical portrait of Orphée is very convincing. With the help of Ek’s directions and Ekman’s designs, she transforms herself into a dishevelled middle-aged man with the appearance and stiff movements of someone who is barely alive.
The opera takes the perspective of Orphée, and it is through his eyes that Eurydice (Marie Arnet) is seen, who turns out to be as full of life as he is lacking in it. In effect the opera is a portrayal of ...