Two of Queensland’s foremost arts organisations join forces to present Orpheus and Eurydice, a circus opera infused with desire and longing that melds sublime music and singing with the raw physicality of movement. Opera Queensland has partnered with internationally renowned contemporary circus company Circa to stage Christoph Gluck’s spellbinding opera from 24 October to 9 November 2019 at Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s (QPAC’s) Playhouse.

Orpheus and Eurydice is inspired by the ancient Greek myth about Orpheus, the god of music, and his journey to the underworld to save his beloved bride, Eurydice. On his way he encounters many challenges, including the Furies, whom Orpheus charms into releasing Eurydice on one condition: Orpheus must resist the temptation to look at her on their journey home or he will lose her forever.

Mr Lifschitz said his production skirted the obvious themes of grief and loss and instead spotlighted the concepts of desire and risk. “I wanted to place the focus squarely on the almost unhealthy limits of desire – do you crave someone enough to risk everything and go into the underworld?” he said. “I wanted an opera that was fused with that cellular desire, something that drives you from inside, that burns in your cells and doesn’t just sit as an idea on the surface.”

Key to his vision is the intermingling of eight acrobats with opera singers, the Opera Queensland Chorus, the richness of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dane Lam and a video design element where textures, images and words are integrated into the production. “It’s a really sexy production with bodies doing difficult and dangerous things on that stage and – unlike Orpheus – you are allowed to look,” Mr Lifschitz said.

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