Aucoins ‘Eurydice’, a modern retelling of the myth, is used in Met. opened – Nach Welt

NEW YORK (AP) – When Erin Morley was singing on the big stage at the Metropolitan Opera, Matthew Aucoin was sitting in the front row of the orchestra, his score in front of him, taking notes.

Unlike most of her performances, Morley was able to use rehearsals to suggest matching notes to her soprano.

Best known for Verdi, Wagner, Mozart and Strauss, the Met is presenting three company premieres of works from the 21st century this season. Aucoin’s “Eurydice”, based on Sarah Ruhl’s 2003 play, will open on Tuesday evening in the first of seven performances until December 16. Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” opened the season, the Met’s first work by a black composer. and Brett Dean’s “Hamlet” will be presented in May.

Aucoin and Ruhl were paired by the composer’s sister, playwright Christine Aucoin, and André Bishop, artistic director of the Lincoln Center Theater, which commissioned the play as part of their joint new work program with the Met.

Boston-born Aucoin composed the 15-minute work “Orphic Moments” for countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, which premiered in 2016.

“Writing really set me on fire creatively, so I thought, ‘I want to go deeper here,’ but I didn’t really want to spend 2 1/2 hours dealing with male artistic narcissism, so both my sister and Andre said: ‘You have to call Sarah Ruhl.’ “

Aucoin and Ruhl met for lunch at a Manhattan restaurant and decided to adapt Ruhl’s modern retelling of the legend, which focused on Eurydike’s point of view, rather than Orpheus’ descent into Hades to save her.

Opera versions were Monteverdi’s “L’Orfeo” from 1607, Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” from 1762 and Offenbach’s “Orphée aux enfers” from 1858 with the famous “Can Can”. Recent performances include Philip Glass’ “Orphée” in 1993 and Anaïs Mitchell’s hit musical “Hadestown,” which premiered on Broadway in 2019.

“That’s catnip for composers, isn’t it?” Said Aucoin. “It kind of says that music can defeat death, but people will always screw it up. It kind of says we’re not worthy of music, and I think it captures something really substantial, which is that music is both human and more than human. “

Ruhl wrote the libretto, Aucoin composed in 2016-19 and the work premiered on February 1, 2020 at the LA Opera. The composer conducted in LA, but Met music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead the New York performance, with Morley taking on the title role from Danielle de Niese and baritone Nathan Berg replacing Rod Gilfrey as Eurydice’s father. Remnants are the baritone Joshua Hopkins (Orpheus) and the tenor Barry Banks (Hades).

“I think Sarah’s piece is much, much more than a reinterpretation of the myth,” said Aucoin. “The myth is part of the piece, but in reality it is an autobiographical deep insight into the psyche of a young woman.”

The Met returned from the longest shutdown in its 138-year history when it opened the season with Terence Blanchard’s 2019 “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” his first work by a black composer. In May, Brett Dean’s “Hamlet” will follow, which opened at the UK’s Glyndebourne Festival in 2017 X. ”

31-year-old Aucoin, who lives in Stamford, Vermont, did not hear previous Orpheus operas until after his work had premiered.

Morley, 41, first saw the lush, tonal score three years ago after receiving a call from Met General Manager Peter Yellow.

“I told him I thought the role wasn’t perfectly tailored to my voice,” she recalls. And he said. ‘That’s why we work with living composers.’ “

Aucoin shifted the notes higher in the register, a process that continued during rehearsals. Between accepting the role and now, Morley became the breakout star of the Met’s At Home Gala Zoom Gala and accompanied himself on the piano in “Chacun le sait (Everyone Knows It)” from Donizetti’s “La Fille du Régiment ( The daughter of the regiment). “

“There are certainly challenges. One is that there is no reference record. I had only heard the orchestration in all its glory last week, ”she said a few days before the opening. “There are many contrasts in the role. There are all these very chatty sections and then there are moments of extreme lyric poetry. And all the rhythms are pretty complicated, and that’s time consuming. “

Aucoin and Ruhl have created an accessible mix of myth, fantasy and humor.

“I think this is really what 21st century opera should be like,” said Morley. “It must be warm. Even if it’s tragic, it has to be beautiful. I’ve long said that one of my favorite angeres about contemporary music is that there is no place for comedy. I’m really excited to see in Matt and Sarah’s work that tragedy and comedy can live in the same room. “


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