*Eurydice,* Nov 30, 2021
Richard and I saw *Eurydice* at the Met on November 30, 2021. It's a new opera with music by Matthew Aucoin and a libretto by Sarah Ruhl, based on her 2003 play. The opera was part of the commission project between the Met and Lincoln Center Theatre. It had its world premiere at LA Opera in early 2020. I was overjoyed to see that the Met was doing three new operas this season - - new opera is totally my bag, so I knew I had some treats in store. Unfortunately the performance we saw was rather sparsely attended so I guess not everyone is into new opera.
It's a new take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, which has been fodder for opera composers for centuries. The new spin in this work is that the story is told from Eurydice's perspective. That certainly made this familiar tale seem novel and fresh.
The opera was a mixed bag. On the one hand the music is very beautiful and rarely dull. But on the other hand it often doesn't seem to have any purpose, it doesn't seem tied to the drama or further the story. One of the problems is the first 20 minutes or so is rather dippy. That's not a good way to start an opera. But the vocal writing was exceptionally good and he got lots of delicious colors out of the orchestra. Sometimes it sounded a little too much like John Adams, but it you're going to imitate someone, you could do worse than John Adams.
Erin Morley played Eurydice. I've heard her a number of times, often in showy parts, but never in a central role. She was extraordinary - - she sang like a dream and you got the feeling that she was a young artist being given a big responsibility and succeeding with flying colors. Here she is singing her aria, "This is what it is to love an artist:"
The role of Orpheus was split between baritone Joshua Hopkins and counter tenor Jakub Józef Orliński. The baritone, it seemed to me, was the guy who was married to Eurydice and the counter tenor was a sort of imaginary companion to him. It didn't seem like Eurydice knew that he was there. Aucoin wrote some interesting inter-woven lines for the two of them but dramatically the double role idea didn't really make sense to me.
Ruhl wrote the play in response to the recent death of her father and she made Eurydice's father a major element of the drama. Baritone Nathan Berg played this role. He sang gloriously and was touching in his performance. The Met's music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted the orchestra and it sure does sound like they love playing for him.