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Orpheus in the Underworld hero image
Orpheus in the Underworld hero image
Orpheus in the Underworld hero image
    a subversion that hits home
    The Evening Standard
    [an] imaginative reworking
    The Guardian

Orpheus in the Underworld tickets

Woman of the moment Emma Rice makes her ENO debut with a glittering new production that buzzes with theatricality. Orpheus in the Underworld is an all-singing, all-dancing operetta, built around Offenbach’s score. Catch it at the London Coliseum from 5 October 2019.

Orphée aux enfers (the original French title) is a comic opera first performed in 1858 Paris. Combining music by Jacques Offenbach and words by Ludovic Halévy and Hector Crémieux, the piece skewers the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The famous ‘Galop Infernal’ (aka the ‘Can-can’) originates from Offenbach’s score, and the show has been treated to a plethora of revivals, many featuring translations, across the globe.

Who needs Heaven when Hell is so much fun? After Eurydice’s marriage to Orpheus ends in tragedy, she is fooled into taking Pluto, king of the Underworld, as her lover. If Orpheus is to win her back, he must enlist the help of a posse of magnificent but frustratingly blasé gods.

Ed Lyon and Claudia Boyle star as Orpheus and Eurydice, alongside Alan Oke as John Styx and Sir Willard White in the part of Jupiter. They are joined by ENO Harewood Artists Idunnu Münch and Alex Otterburn as well as ENO Harewood Artist alumnus Mary Bevan. ENO’s former Music Director Sian Edwards conducts.

Emma Rice is the Artistic Director of theatre company Wise Children, which she set up in 2018. Her directing credits include Brief Encounter, Cymbeline and Wise Children.

Orpheus in the Underworld is the glittering soiree you always wanted to be invited to. Put on your party hat and step into Emma Rice’s world at the London Coliseum from 5 October 2019.

Performance dates: 28 Nov 2019 - 28 Nov 2019

Running time: 2 hours 25 minutes

Age recommendation: No under 5s

Special notice: If you loved Emma Rice’s work for Kneehigh or for her company Wise Children, you won’t want to miss Orpheus in the Underworld, which boasts all her signature humour and playfulness. Fans of ENO’s grand productions will find the 2019/20 season does not disappoint.

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Orpheus in the Underworld seat view photos show what view you will get for your money. Unfortunately we do not have any seat views for this show.

Latest audience reviews

The set was innovative and the cast were incredibly talented. Singing blew us away. A great experience... More

msjad 03 Dec 2019

The set was innovative and the cast were incredibly talented. Singing blew us away. A great experience for novices, definitely ignited our interest to see more opera.

msjad 03 Dec 2019
Tash11e 09 Nov 2019

Set design and lighting very innovative and practical - allowing change of sets quickly. Lighting was... More

mrsak 03 Dec 2019

Set design and lighting very innovative and practical - allowing change of sets quickly. Lighting was used well to change mood. Costumes were clever and quirky and fun. Singing, lovely. I loved the show. A good night.

mrsak 03 Dec 2019

Creative set design albeit in the Colliseum's new minimalist style. Diction so very good from main singers... More

jeanettemartin Top 200 reviewer03 Nov 2019

Creative set design albeit in the Colliseum's new minimalist style. Diction so very good from main singers no surtitles were necessary. Colourful and amusing but some scenes of a more predatory sexual nature made me feel uncomfortable.

jeanettemartin Top 200 reviewer03 Nov 2019

I had imagined this opera would fill the theatre, because the Offenbach original is essentially a comical/satirical... More

philipc14 01 Nov 2019

I had imagined this opera would fill the theatre, because the Offenbach original is essentially a comical/satirical send up of the Orpheus/Eurydice story, poking fun at the idea of undying/sacrificial love. The director's additions turn it into an altogether darker piece, beginning with a shocking sequence about a still birth and ending with a progressively clear indication that Eurydice is doomed to perpetual exploitation and abuse by men and male gods in death as well as life. This is a reality for many people, and Offenbach's take may just be too dated to stand in its own right. But I feel uneasy about modifying a pre-existing work in this way, preferring I think to see a fully conceived original piece. That said, the conductor, musicians and performers put on a good show that was enthusiastic and entertaining. I enjoyed watching it and I hope lots more people go to see it, before it ends its run.

philipc14 01 Nov 2019
pag 27 Oct 2019
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