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Photo: Monika Rittershaus


Cecilia Bartoli shines in Christof Loy’s super-aesthetic production of Orfeo Ed Euridice, impressing as neo-classical gesamtkunst in a breathtaking performance that blends Gluck’s fine baroque score with modern dance, as a kind of accelerating consciousness, in something as rare as a high-spirited audience hit.

Love Hurts, seems to be the point of the Greek tragedy of Orpheus, who gets permission from the gods to bring his deceased lover home from the realm of
the dead.

The condition is diabolical – he must not look at her, nor explain why – until they are back in earthly life.

The clause proves impossible to fulfill, and it ends tragically as Euridice first comes to life, then dies again at Orpheus’ loving gaze, and then Orpheus himself enters the realm of the dead to end his now double grief.

And yes, in this production, it is superstar Cecilia Bartoli who sings Orpheus’ dominant part here on her home turf in Salzburg, brilliantly flanked by the young French soprano Mélissa Petit as Euridice.

Bartoli’s performance draws rapturous applause, to say the least, here at the smallest in the festival’s 3 venues, where a stylish, minimalist stage design of dark wooden steps framed by austere, chalk-white classicist paneled interiors leads from the orchestra pit directly to the underworld.

A stage design that, together with the uniform costuming of the choir and dancers in dark suits, may sound somewhat stagnant, but is brought to life by director Loy’s original choreography, which captures the essence and elevates the story of love, life and death to the big stage.

A silent portrayal of suffering that writhes the characters’ inner psychology into abstract dance, leaving you moved by this visually compelling, pause-less Orfeo interpretation, a beautiful, music-dramatic experience.

The orchestra colors Gluck’s 1762 composition with organic sound, soft adagios and distinct allegros. The direction by Milan-born Gianluca Capuano is a delight and the success is a fact.

Orfeo is great art and a distinguished experience in the packed haus für Mozart, which frames the experience with class and style.

Five stars from Det Sku’ Du Se.