Metropolitan Opera presents


English w/e.s.t.

Music by Matthew Aucoin, libretto by Sarah Ruhl, based on her play Eurydice
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor

The ancient Greek myth of Orpheus, who attempts to harness the power of music to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the Underworld, has inspired composers since opera’s earliest days. Brilliant American composer Matthew Aucoin now carries that tradition into the 21st century with a captivating new take on the story—a product of the Met’s commissioning program. With a libretto by MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Sarah Ruhl, adapted from her acclaimed 2003 play, the opera reimagines the familiar tale from Eurydice’s point of view. Yannick Nézet-Séguin takes the podium, leading Aucoin’s evocative music and an immersive new staging by Mary Zimmerman. Soprano Erin Morley sings the title role, opposite baritone Joshua Hopkins as Orpheus and countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński as his otherworldly alter-ego. Bass-baritone Nathan Berg is Eurydice’s father and fellow resident of the underworld, with tenor Barry Banks as Hades himself.

EurydiceAct I
Eurydice is frustrated that Orpheus’s mind is elsewhere, when he proposes. Eurydice’s father writes her a letter. At their wedding, Eurydice steps outside for some air. A mysterious man appears and takes her to his apartment. When she realizes the situation that she’s in, she turns to leave. He reveals the letter from her father, she tries to grab it but falls into the Underworld.

Act II
When Eurydice arrives in the Underworld, her father greets her, but she has no idea who he is. Orpheus writes Eurydice a letter. Back down below, a letter falls from the sky. The father reads it. The name “Orpheus” triggers something in Eurydice, and she begins to remember who she is. Orpheus lowers the works of Shakespeare into the Underworld. Eurydice begins to learn language again. Orpheus resolves to bring Eurydice back. Orpheus’s singing rouses the spirits of the dead, and the Stones call Hades.

Orpheus sings at the gates of the Underworld. Hades informs him that Eurydice can follow him out, but he must not look back at her. Eurydice is torn between following Orpheus and staying with her father. She follows Orpheus, but when she calls his name, he turns around. The lovers are pulled apart. The father decides to dip himself in the river of forgetfulness. Eurydice finds that her father has obliterated his memory. Hades reappears to claim Eurydice. She writes a letter to Orpheus and dips herself in the river. Orpheus arrives in the Underworld and loses his memory. He finds Eurydice’s letter but does not know how to read it.

For information and tickets visit:

Related Posts