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Orpheus and Eurydice - The Rose Playhouse, Bankside

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IN THE year of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s tercentenary, Time Zone Theatre is presenting his most famous opera, Orpheus and Eurydice, in a new English translation by Andrew Charity for 12 performances at the Rose Playhouse, Bankside (June 3 to June 28, 2014).

This timeless opera is based on the myth of Orpheus, who goes to the Underworld to save his wife Eurydice. He manages to persuade the furies, softened by his music, to let Eurydice return with him, but there is one condition: Orpheus must walk in front of her and not look back until they both have reached the earth again.

Together with musical director Andrew Charity (musical director of the Olivier Award-winning production of La Boheme in 2009) and Pamela Schermann, Time Zone Theatre returns to the Rose Playhouse, Bankside after the successful run of The Taming of the Shrew in 2013.

The Rose Playhouse, Bankside is the excavation site of the historic Rose Theatre, which was built in Shakespeare’s time. This unique venue seems to be made for this production: the dark space with its water (to help preserve the ruins of the historic site, they are covered with cement and water) provides a very special atmoshere.

The production will use the whole site as its stage by performing the first Act on the platform in very close proximity to the audience, and parts of the second Act in the site, which will be lit with candles and stage lights to create the “Underworld“, in which Orpheus has to descend.

Apart from professional opera singers, who will sing the soloist parts of Orpheus, Eurydice and Amor, and the eight-person all-female opera choir, the production will feature a community choir.

The protagonist of this opera pushes and redefines boundaries, believing in himself and the possibility to change his faith. The celebration of our human strength both as individuals and as a community are the focus of this production.

Members of the local community in Southwark are invited to take part in this production by participating in free workshops on acting and singing, and performing in the opera alongside the professional singers.

Based in London, Time Zone Theatre is an international theatre company, which encourages collaboration between British and international artists and produces bold and daring work with room for experimentation. Recent productions include The Last Day (Waterloo East Theatre, 2012), Werther’s Sorrows (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2012), Salome (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012 and transfer to Etcetera Theatre, London) and the critically acclaimed contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (2013).

For Orpheus and Eurydice, Time Zone Theatre joins forces with Austrian opera company OPERN SPACE, which focuses on presenting operas in unusual venues, and independent French producer Eric Douchin.

The opera is directed by Austrian director Pamela Schermann, with musical direction by Andrew Charity. The cast features Robin Green (as Orpheus), Mimi Doulton (Eurydice) and Darja Scukina (Amor). The musical ensemble will consist of keyboard, harp, violin and flute.

Tickets: £16, £12 concessions, £10 Southwark residence with proof of address. For more information or to book, call the box office on 020 7261 9565 or visit www.rosetheatre.org.uk/ or orpheus-opera.com/.

Dates and Times: June 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26 and 28, 2014 at 7.30pm (Sunday at 3pm).

NB: Further work on the excavation site is due to begin later this year, allowing the ruins to be on permanent display.