Orpheus Descending
Composer: Bruce Saylor
Librettist: J.D. McClatchy
Other Artistic Personnel: Rhoda Levine, Stage Director; Stewart Robinson, Conductor; Marie Anne Chiment, Set Designer
Original Cast: Original cast: Valentine Xavier, Victor Benedetti; Lady Torrance, Juliana Rambaldi; Jabe Torrance, Stephen Morscheck; Carol Cutrere, Terese Fedea; Vee Talbot, Emily Magee; Beulah, Natalie Arduino; Dolly, Kimberly Jones; Sheriff Talbott, Stephen Powell; David Cutrere, Gary Martin; Nurse, Gwendolyn Brown
Premiere Date: June 10, 1994
Producing Company: Lyric Opera of Chicago
Description: The story is set in the general drygoods store of a small Southern town. Val, a reformed hustler searching for a new life, wanders into the dark, depressing world of Lady, the daughter of an Italian immigrant and wife of Jabe, the store owner. Lady longs to be saved from the memory of her father's fiery murder by local vigilantes, from an earlier affair and subsequent abortion, and from her empty marriage to the menacing, cancer-ridden Jabe. Val comes to work and lives in the store. He and Lady fall in love. Val's wild beauty stirs up other women in the town, including the seductive Carol, who tries to warn him of the mortal danger he courts, and the visionary Vee, wife of the local sheriff. From his deathbed, Jabe discovers Lady's infidelity. Lady herself learns by accident that Jabe had been part of the gang that killed her father and then learns that she is pregnant by Val. In the midst of her furious exaltation, Jabe descends and shoots her. The sheriff and his cronies capture Val and burn him to death. Carol dons Val's snakeskin jacket, a symbol of the continuing cycle of life
Reviews: Opera News, November 1994; Opera Canada, Richard Covello, Fall 1994; The New Yorker, Paul Griffiths, 7-10-94; The Village Voice, Leighton Kerner, 7-5-94; Opera News, Deborah Seabury Holloway, June 1994; Pioneer Press, Dorothy Andries, 6-16-94; The New York Times, Alex Ross, 6-13-94; Chicago Sun-Times, Wynne Delacoma, 6-12-94; Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein, 6-12-94; The Reader, Ted Shein, 6-10-94; Opera Monthly, Bruce-Michael Gelbert, May-June 1994; Chicago Daily Herald, Bill Gowen, 5-5-94
Length: 01:35
Total Acts: Not Available
Orchestration: 4 woodwinds, 6 brass, 9 str, hrp, 2 perc
Musical Style: Tonal; lyrical; some very chromatic parts; dark, sometimes brooding music; use of leifmotifs
Contact: Lyric Opera of Chicago
Phone: 312-332-2244
Schedule of Performances Listings
Orpheus Descending (Saylor)
Friday, June 10, 1994 - Lyric Opera of Chicago
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