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Your reaction: Orphée et Eurydice

What did you think of John Fulljames and Hofesh Shechter's production of Gluck's opera?

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

15 September 2015 at 2.03pm | 52 Comments

Press reviews:
Independent ★★★★★
Guardian ★★★★
FT ★★★★
Telegraph ★★★★
The Stage ★★★★
Arts Desk (£) ★★★★
Express  ★★★★
Evening Standard ★★★
What's On Stage ★★★

What did you think of Orphée et Eurydice?

Orphée et Eurydice until 3 October 2015. Tickets are still available.

The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, and is part of #Hofest.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

15 September 2015 at 2.03pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged By Hofesh Shechter and John Fulljames, by John Fulljames and Hofesh Shechter, Orphée et Eurydice, Production, review, Social Media, twitter, your reaction

This article has 52 comments

  1. Matteo responded on 15 September 2015 at 10:50am Reply

    Wonderful production: JDF in good form (with his voice becoming darker but still amazing ), great designs and fascinating dancers. It was really a good start of season

  2. Stephen Cutler responded on 15 September 2015 at 1:55pm Reply

    Stupendous overall. Flórez amazing, the voice fuller than before but still secure, and taking all aspects of his performance, not just the singing, possibly the best thing he has done (and I say that, having seen virtually everything he has done everywhere over the past fifteen years).

    I loved the production, full of creativity and energy. It is not easy to stage this opera in a way that adds anything to a concert performance, still harder to make it fit a house of the size of the ROH, but this production succeeded spectacularly well. It is not often you see something completely original, but the idea of placing the orchestra centre stage and elevating it is new to me in over 40 years of opera going. And it looked beautiful, with stunning lighting.

    I doubt one will ever hear a better orchestra and chorus in this opera than we had last night. The power of the score in Gardiner's hands is remarkable. And congratulations for not cutting the dance music and for engaging the Hofesh Shechter dancers.

    Is it too late to remedy the lack of a video recording?

  3. françois responded on 15 September 2015 at 3:17pm Reply

    An absolute first-class performance: intelligent production, magical lighting, outstanding choir and orchestra, and an amazing performance by Juan Diego Florez. Don't miss his stunning stretta at the end of Act I ("l'espoir renaît"), totally stupendous!

  4. marina responded on 15 September 2015 at 4:27pm Reply

    Absolutely fabulous staging, set design and lighting - among the most intelligent I've ever seen and a perfect marriage of theatre and music. Having the orchestra on a platform that moves high and low is brilliant and made a huge amount of dramatic and narrative sense. 1st half extraordinary - music inspired especally my favourite aria, singing fab and dancing original and dramatically coherent - Hades and Elysium. Second half things went a little downhill. A second rate prolonged, meaningless and fundamemtally redundant dance sequence with 'filler' Gluck-by-rote music not furthering character or the dramatic arc. And very peculiar staging of Eurydice's death - audience actually tittered which is the production's bad. Singing in first half glorious and the famous Orphee aria as well as the duet/trio in the 2nd half enthralling and glorious but I thought JDF'S voice (BIG FAN!) started to sound strained by the end. Conducted fantastically from start to finish. My three companions had exactly the same reactions including my 24 year old son who was blown away by the mise en scene and the music but left puzzled by the dancing (loved the Hades writhing tho!) All in all a fascinating and marvellous, if slightly flawed production raised to true brilliance by mostly glorious music and a mostly genius mise en scene

  5. Michael responded on 16 September 2015 at 2:08am Reply

    Stunning, just simply stunning.
    Wonderful imaginative yet simple staging.
    Orchestra and chorus sound amazing and JDF in top form.
    The best new production at the ROH in the last few years.
    This is how you modernize opera.

  6. Bohdan responded on 16 September 2015 at 10:59am Reply

    Bravi Tutti! - especially to Hofesh Shechter and his amazing talented dancers.

  7. David responded on 16 September 2015 at 11:34pm Reply

    Fantastic night. Why oh why is this not being transmitted to cinemas, crazy decision to exclude it.

  8. Jacky Tarleton responded on 20 September 2015 at 12:03pm Reply

    Could I add my plea for a DVD or HD transmission? It was a truly amazing experience. I can hardly wait to see it again.

  9. Douglas Bateman responded on 21 September 2015 at 12:13pm Reply

    A truly spellbinding evening with the sole exception of the too protracted dance scenes at the end, music Gluck wrote to order, and it shows. However, it counts for little in the light of superb singing and playing; and a highly imaginative staging which kept the eye engaged without distraction from the musical performances , not to mention a stage debut by Juan Diego Florez. Is it really too late to record this? Glyndebourne made a last-minute decision with Saul. Come on, Covent Garden this is really worth it!

  10. Claire Gregory responded on 21 September 2015 at 4:23pm Reply

    I hope this incredible production will be recorded. I most definitely will buy a copy. I want to see and hear this.

  11. Amy Zimmerman responded on 21 September 2015 at 5:22pm Reply

    Overseas fans follow the ROH schedule faithfully. Although we are promised a BBC Radio 3 broadcast we will miss the impact only a video provides. Please allow us to see as well as hear this remarkable production with its great performances. A DVD would be wonderful!

  12. Rosemary McDonald responded on 21 September 2015 at 5:40pm Reply

    I absolutly agree with those calling for a visual recording having seen it twice. The fabulous quality of the singing, amazing soloists and choir, the drama of the music, the orchestra, and staging, and the sheer energy of the dancing should be shared worldwide. A suberb production - it is an opportunity which should not be missed ROH!.

  13. Marinela Nicolescu responded on 21 September 2015 at 5:57pm Reply

    When a production has as many glorious reviews as this Orphee and Eutydice, it would be a pity and waste not to have it recorded for those unable to witness it life.
    I was sadly surprised that it was not included in the ROH HD program.
    I want to add my imploring voice for a DVD!

  14. Fiona Willis responded on 21 September 2015 at 6:03pm Reply

    Went to the Matinee yesterday. What an amazing staging! The Orchestra , Chorus and dancers were excellent. The three principals were superb. So pleased that we chose to see Orpheus and Eurydice.

  15. ROH, please, please, please, change your mind and make a video recording of Orphée et Eurydice! I live in US and can’t travel to see it live. But, as far as I was able to grasp from reviews, it’s one of a kind, glorious production where everything comes together – soloists and orchestra, choir and dancers, staging and lighting. It’s also seems to be one of Juan Diego Florez’s personal triumphs that unlikely to be repeated. Please, share it with the world and preserve for opera’s history.

  16. Ann o'Shaughnessy responded on 21 September 2015 at 7:05pm Reply

    What a superb production. I can only agree wholeheartedly with all previous comments and add my plea for a DVD. I would love to share this with friends & family, especially my grandchildren. Thanks to all concerned,

  17. Fabulous evening. The singers, orchestra and choir were absolutely first rate. Loved the movement of the orchestra, a real and exciting innovation. Dancing was certainly energetic. reminded me of primary school when we had to dance to the music and "be spiky" or "be like a tree". Not my preferred version of Gluck's opera but a cracking and lively performance. Well done!

  18. Louisa McDonnell responded on 21 September 2015 at 7:31pm Reply

    This wonderful production should be recorded visually, as others have said. Please, please a DVD!

  19. John R responded on 21 September 2015 at 7:48pm Reply

    A fabulous production and wonderful performances from all concerned - soloists, choir, orchestra and dancers. Those of us who managed to see it in the theatre have been privileged to experience this great production. It would be a tragedy if this series of performances were not recorded for posterity and for a global audience to see. I add my plea to those who have already requested a DVD!

  20. Juliet Chaplin responded on 21 September 2015 at 8:35pm Reply

    Wonderful musically. No problem with the placing of the orchestra. Great playing and singing, and the dancers excellent but in my view the grotesque choreography didn't do them any favours!

  21. Liane responded on 21 September 2015 at 11:49pm Reply

    What wonderful commentaries. I hoped they would be good but exceeded my expectations. Can hardly wait to see it on the 29th.

  22. Julia responded on 22 September 2015 at 9:08am Reply

    Orphee is so fabulous that it absolutely MUST be transmitted to cinemas or recorded on DVD. Such superb production should be available to everybody. Please change your mind and record it!!!!!!!

  23. Patricia Bennett responded on 22 September 2015 at 1:24pm Reply

    Stunning! Loved everything about this production.. Over 50 years this will remain one of my most memeorable nights. More of the same please, whatever that is!

  24. leopold klier responded on 22 September 2015 at 4:53pm Reply

    we, a couple from vienna/Austria, visited the 2nd performance to see JDF in his role debut. A fabulous, superb production, thanks to the excellent singers, orchestra, Chorus and dancers, especially to Maestro Florez, he made this evening to an unforgettable one.
    Dear ROH, please take the chance to record this wonderful production on video,
    ITS A MUST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Katherine Hagstrum responded on 22 September 2015 at 6:10pm Reply

    Please record this for a dvd to be released! It sounds as if it is a ground-breaking production, and is important, not just for those of us who would like to see and hear it. For reasons of opera history it needs to be recorded, and a shame to miss the opportunity.

  26. Małgorzata R responded on 22 September 2015 at 8:11pm Reply

    I read so many rave reviews, watch photos of this amazing performance. Please record DVD, for those who can not watch it live in ROH

  27. Geoff responded on 22 September 2015 at 8:53pm Reply

    Oh dear, after so many so very positive comments, I hardly dare challenge the consensus on this page. But if only to add a different voice, the placing of the orchestra did not help the acoustic (from where I was sitting, front of the balcony); some of us dance fans thought Schechter miscast and not at his best; the direction was decorative rather than a truly intelligent engagement with the work; JDF didn't move me as deeply as Lucy Crowe. I am at the 3 star end of the spectrum with this show, but am very pleased it has been done.

  28. With Orphee, ROH has a great success on its hands - pleasing the critics and the audience. This production has to be heard AND seen, a radio broadcast does not nearly does it justice. There are several performances left. Surely there is sufficient time to record a DVD?? PLEASE??

  29. Marta Farkas responded on 23 September 2015 at 8:32am Reply

    This wonderful production should be recorded visually. Please, please a DVD!

  30. David Patterson responded on 23 September 2015 at 9:42am Reply

    Orphée was brilliant, musically and vocally that is. The dancing became very tedious especially as the choreography was so childish and, to me, very uninspiring. It's just like what we used to do in Music and Movement at kindergarten.

  31. Martin Clist responded on 23 September 2015 at 7:47pm Reply

    Yikes, am I the lone dissenting voice?
    Went to the opening night and was underwhelmed to the point of detachment. The orchestra, stuck in the middle of the stage being cranked up and down (for no discernibly good reason) on their own platform often obscured the action, or at least from row F, Orchestra Stalls it did.
    The dancing, after the first few minutes seemed deeply repetitive, admittedly at different speeds (normal, slow and very very fast) but the same trembly hands, arm arching from back to front movements just about the whole time. Great bodies, and energy, but I couldn't hack it, and too dominant. Maybe it's a fault with the (revised) opera?
    Lucy Crowe's voice was lovely, and Florez's too, but it seemed so 19th century against the sound of the orchestra.
    The lighting was beautiful, but the absolute marvel was the orchestra and chorus, fantastic.
    It felt as if the directors just didn't trust the music. I'll only say 'multi-storey car park' once. Trouble is, once one's thought it, it's tricky to forget it.

  32. Jacky Tarleton responded on 23 September 2015 at 11:49pm Reply

    Is anybody reading our comments? We are asking for a DVD recording before it is too late, but is anyone up there listening to us?

  33. Malcolm Fawcett responded on 24 September 2015 at 7:44am Reply

    Celebrating 40 yrs since I first went to CG and hundreds of performances later I coint this " Orphee" one of the truly greats!
    Enough said!
    final enduring ,memory will be the finale choreographjy!Jaw dropping!!

  34. John Rose responded on 24 September 2015 at 10:12am Reply

    I was at last sunday's performance and have been mulling it over since then...and wondering just why I was not so overwhelmed as most have been. Musically yes! Excellent in all aspects,vocally,orchestrally,chorally. Spectacular,too,with dancing both demonic and expressive. Fine lighting effects too.
    But opera as DRAMA?.....Here I have my doubts. It's a wonderful story. It's part of the human condition to suffer loss. It affects us all. But I came away without any sense of being moved by the plight of Orfeo. ('s not Wagner and one doesn't expect to be wrung out after this work: but there is a sense of "purified" emotion from Gluck's often sublime music).
    I was too distracted by the dancers, by the orchestra,by the clever platform movements,so that the interaction of the two principal protagonists seemed like mere ciphers.
    I think the Italian version of this opera is better and more focused. But best of all is the Monteverdi "Orfeo". Those who saw Michael Boyd's production earlier this year will understand.
    That said...I can appreciate those clamouring for a DVD. But I guess there are contractual difficulties.
    Finally... how much better a start to the season this is after last year's woeful "Idomeneo"

  35. Tanya responded on 26 September 2015 at 9:38pm Reply

    Staging Was Exquisite And Singing Divine. Setting The Orchestra Centre Stage On A Rising And Falling Platform Was Genius. What Spoilt It? The Dancing, Which Although Beautiful To Begin With, Became Tedious And Repetitive. JEG And His Orchestra Were Simply Beautiful And I Loved how The Individual Players Stood Up During Their Solos. Would Love To See Again At Cinema.

  36. Pete Hale responded on 27 September 2015 at 12:07pm Reply

    Matinee 26/09/2015. I believe that I witnessed an Operatic Event that will live with me forever. To achieve so much in one production. Florez, Crowe & the truly magnificent Amanda Forsythe along side Montiverdi Choir, Hofresh Dance ,English Baroque Soloist AND John Eliot Gardiner together is possibly something that cannot be achieved again. A DVD is a must.

  37. Christine Partridge responded on 28 September 2015 at 11:21am Reply

    I can't believe I saw the same Performance that all the above people saw. I thought it was totally unmagical and the ballet was so boring I was willing it to stop so I could go home. It would have been far better just to have a concert performance but wait a moment that was what we had. Except for the chorus the singing was not so good. I am not a Florez fan and he was just as I remembered him and I felt that Lucy Crowe was not as good as I have seen her in the past. So all in all not a great evening but I was not surprised as most of the productions these days are not very interesting.

  38. Ekaterina N responded on 28 September 2015 at 2:33pm Reply

    Interesting production,
    Wonderful Montiverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists,
    Beautiful lighting
    JDF - impressive as ever
    But very, very boring, repetitive dancing,
    The last 20 minutes of dancing totally spoilt the overall impression. Such a shame!

  39. Richard S responded on 28 September 2015 at 10:42pm Reply

    Great first half - I love the dynamic orchestra, and the cut back staging, and hell's writhing minions, but oh boy, that second half. There's a reason the Paris version is not often heard. The dramatic and aural impact of all the beautiful music from the beginning of Act III is totally lost in the near endless dances. Once you've seen one bit of ecstacitc writhing and some legs akimbo you've seen it all. Some judicious use of the red pen was truly needed.

  40. Eyes shut tight during the tedious dancing but otherwise DIVINE!

  41. Michael Normington responded on 30 September 2015 at 12:44pm Reply

    Monday's performance was excellent, although it is a fault of the work itself that there is so much ballet after all the action is over. A very clever staging, with three excellent performances from the singers, especially Angelini, and a fabulous sound from JEG, the orchestra and chorus ... and Lee Curran deserves an Award for some of the best lighting I have seen in opera in many years ...

  42. Liane responded on 30 September 2015 at 11:00pm Reply

    I fully agree with the comments on the ballet which at the beginning was quite nice to watch but in the end it became very tedious, particularly since it was not my taste of ballet at all. However, everything else was beautiful from the absolutely gorgeous music to the great singers, particularly Angelini and Crowe and the fabulous choir.
    The lighting too was absolutely beautiful and different, in fact the whole production was great.Love the idea to have the music on the stage and move up and down. For a while I was transported into a different world and it was not the Underworld.

  43. M Black responded on 1 October 2015 at 10:21am Reply

    I attended on 26th September. It is the most brilliant performance of singers, particularly, Juan Diego Florez as Orfee, and dancers, and orchestra were good too. I think this role is the most appropriate role (or one of, if not only) for Florez. After all, Orfee is a mythical hero of lyre. I hope this production will become DVD.

  44. Stephen Ratcliffe responded on 1 October 2015 at 10:39am Reply

    Was there last night and loved it. Best thing I have seen at ROH this year. Thank you

  45. Richard Philpott responded on 1 October 2015 at 3:03pm Reply

    Rather tiresome and repetitious dancing that added little and meant almost nothing. I'm sorry to say that I also thought nothing was really gained by having the orchestra onstage, as much as I enjoy concert music of this era. Combing dance an opera rarely works well today (pace Paris Grand Opera). An exception was ROH's "Le Vepres Siciliennes" where it was intelligently integrated and with great effect.
    This Orphee lacked interest beyond the wonderful skills of the singers.
    And I was very pleased that I heard the one performance from Michele Angelini, as he was magnificent. Lucy Crowe always is too :)

    To see this type of modern dance combined well and intelligently with classical music (rather than a 'fashionable' bolt-on), one really had to be at Glyndebourne's SAUL (also with Lucy Crow) this summer, which was a true resounding triumph on every level. By comparison, I'd very happily miss Hofesh (and forget I ever saw this) and his dreary unimaginative repetitions any day. It is unfortunate that this version of the Gluck leaves such longeurs to be filled with dance (Paris again!). Better to close one's eyes and enjoy the music. And that is where Saul wins again: less is definitely more! And I would urge ROH to have less of this production style and look at what Glyndebourne has achieved with so much less: Thank you Barrie Kosky (Saul)! No thank you Hofesh Shechter and John Fulljames (Orphee).

  46. Margo Macartney responded on 2 October 2015 at 3:04am Reply

    I truly hope this will be a DVD! Many thanks.

  47. John Wright responded on 2 October 2015 at 11:24am Reply

    Fearing a repeat of the dispiriting 'Idomeneo', I was only willing to spend £5 on the dress rehearsal. From high in the Upper Slips I could hear the musical excellence. What I could see of the staging intrigued me. I'm not a ballet-lover but have seen dance performed, as intended, in French baroque operas in France. Craning my neck, I could see the dance here was nothing like the broadly "classical" style I'd seen in France! And yet...some of it seemed "in tune" with what the music was depicting, even the "flinging around".

    Still not sure about the dance, I was sufficiently enthused by the rest to buy a ticket, then another and another (including Mr Angelini's night). Each performance has increased my admiration for the work, for all the singers and musicians involved and, yes, for the dance.

    On one night, I had a restricted, but near, view of the front of the stage where I was able to see close-up how disciplined the dancers are and how carefully thought through the choreography. The production, with its spare staging and beautiful lighting, putting "Music" at its centre, and the powerful and invigorating dance seems to me a convincing modern response to what was, after all, a "reform" opera; and all the singers admirably expressed, in voice and gesture, the drama and emotions so well painted in the score.

    Sometimes it's good to have one's expectations confounded: this was one of the best things I've seen at ROH for some time. Congratulations to all concerned.
    And more French Gluck please!

  48. My second comment as I'm still recovering! I was in a dream,on another planet! As I've already mentioned I found the dancing quite deadly(it seems I'm not alone here) but with my eyes closed the music was still a delight. The soloists,choir and orchestra were gorgeous and for me the tragic story really was a Kleenex job.

  49. Günter Wolter responded on 19 October 2015 at 5:03am Reply

    I have a special question. Is a DVD or Blue-ray soon available from one of the performances taking place currently with Juan Diego Florez, English Baroque Solists under John Eliot Gardiner in Covent guards?
    I think, this unique interpretation must be taken up.

  50. Cita responded on 19 October 2015 at 6:54am Reply

    I saw the performance on Sept 17... loved it all, especially the innovative placement of the orchestra on stage, and the ballet sequences. JDF's performance as Orphee was especially convincing, as was Lucy Crowe as Eurydice. Amanda Forsythe as Amour was... edgy, literally, but I don't understand the rationale for the costume or confrontational manner. That said, six weeks later I still have the music in my head... a wonderful and special experience; thanks to all involved.

  51. Gilly responded on 18 May 2016 at 2:22pm Reply

    The best production ROH has ever put on, and I write as someone first brought to Covent Garden as a child. Juan Diego Florez should take most of the credit; his singing and acting were beautiful, intensely moving. The other soloists were good, the orchestra and choir excellent. The only thing that detracted from the production was the irritating dancers. I have seen the dance of the blessed spirits and dance of the furies beautifully choreographed, but this was like a primary school group doing movement to music! I very much regret that no dvd was produced. A missed opportunity ROH!

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