Orpheus in the Underworld at the Iford Arts Festival

Suzanne Shakespeare returns to the Iford Arts Festival singing the role of Eurydice in Opera della Luna’s new production of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld.

A profanation of holy and glorious antiquity. A desecration of the gods! That’s how one outraged critic greeted the first performance of Orphée aux Enfers in 1858. But Offenbach and his librettists were not so much desecrating ancient Greece as their own bourgeois society. All Paris flocked to the tiny Bouffes-Parisiens to see it. Its waltzes and galops were played constantly from the Tuileries to the smallest taverns; the infantry even marched to its tunes. And of course the Galop Infernal or Cancan became one of the most famous dance tunes ever-written.

For the last in their trilogy of operas comiques for Iford, Opera della Luna will assemble a company of multi-talented singers, comedians, and dancers to stage Offenbach’s most celebrated work, in a new translation by Jeff Clarke that will cast a satirical eye on our own society in much the same way that Offenbach’s original lambasted 2nd empire Paris.

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