Music theatre Ballet 1978 1986

Orpheus

A story in six scenes (two acts) by Edward Bond

Commissioned by the Württembergisches Staatstheater, Stuttgart

Year of composition 1978
Revised version 1986
Duration 110 Minuten

Dedicated to the ballet company of the Wu?rttembergisches Staatstheater and to the choreographer William Forsythe

City of Positano Prize 1980

World premieres

World premiere 17. march 1979

Stuttgart · Württembergische Staatsoper

Choreography William Forsythe
Stage design Axel Manthey
Costume design Joachim Herzog
Conductor Woldemar Nelsson

 

World premiere of the vienna version (for small Instrumentation ) 20. june 1986

Wien · Staatsoper

Production and Choreography Ruth Berghaus
Stage design Hans Dieter Schaal
Costume design Marie Luise Strandt
Conductor Ulf Schirmer

Comment

In this work Edward Bond’s vision of the beauty and the horror of living are brought together in a drama for all mankind. Or- pheus provokes, unmasks and disobeys the Gods through his singing, and thereby frees man from the fear of death, from the loss of love, and from mortality.

An imortant impetus to this composition after repeated and particularly intense experiences of hearing Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” over many years was given in 1977 by the 2nd Cantiere in Montepulciano at which a production of “Orfeo” by Angelo Poliziano (a native of the town) was framed by a number of Orpheus pieces by classical and contemporary composers, including my own “Tirsi, Mopso, Aristeo”, a sonata for solo violin written at the end of 1976. At this Cantiere, Franco Serpa, an expert on ancient Greece, gave an impressive lecture on aspects of the Orphic tradition and told the listeners how the ideas and images of this tradition still effect the world of our imagination today, how they play a decisive role in our thoughts and feelings, and to what a large extent they form part of our culture.

Each of the “Arias of Orpheus” begins with the sound of the guitar. It is the clanging and whimpering sounds of the nerve fibres, kaleidoscopic colouring, darkness, shades, silver, weeping, hollow cries like those of nocturnal animals and the echoing of history that move me whenever I hear a guitar play.

Hans Werner Henze

Cast

Orpheus ballerino
Eurydike ballerina
Persephoneballerina
Hades ballerino
Apollo ballerino
corpo di ballo3 judges
chief guard
guards
sentinels
country people
mad people
poor people
crippled and raging people
rich people
girls
women
men
the dead
Orpheus’ friends
monsters
animals

Instrumentation

Versione Viennese

2 Flauti1° anche Ottavino e Flauto contralto
2° anche Ottavino e Flauto basso con amplificatore
3 Oboi1° anche Oboe d’amore
2° anche Corno inglese
3° anche Heckelphon
2 Clarinetti1° anche Clarinetto piccolo
2° anche Clarinetto basso e Clarinetto contrabbasso
1 Sassofono sopranoanche Sassofono contralto
Sassofono tenore
Sassofono baritono e Clarinetto basso
2 Fagotti2° anche Controfagotto
6 Corni
3 Trombe
3 Tromboni
1 Tuba bassa
Percussione ICimbali antichi
Grancassa
Tamburo piccolo
4 Timpani
Claves
Loo-jon
Campane tubolari
Sonagli a mano
Percussione II5 Triangoli
Cimbali antichi
4 Piatti sospesi
3 Tamtam
2 Lastre di metallo
Flessatono
Guiro
Raganella
Percussione IIITamburino
Tamburo piccolo
Tomtom
Boo-bams
Sistri
Eufonio
Vibrafono
5 Campane da gregge
Percussione IVTomtom
Tescini cinese
Flauto a culisse
Marimba
Glockenspiel
Arpa
Celesta
Chitarra
Pianoforte
Clavicembalo
Organo
9 Violini
4 Viole
4 Violoncelli
3 Contrabbassi

 

Sul palco (per danzatori)

3 Flauti dolci
Sistra
Hyoshigi
Nacchere di danza
Crotali
Barile di sake (o Darabukka)
Tamburo a raganella tibetano
Fischi di giocattolo
Fischi da richiamo di caccia
Flessatoni

 

Dietro la scena

1Oboe
1 Corno inglese
1 Sassofono soprano
1 Fagotto
2 Piatti sospesi piccoli
3 Tamtam
Cassa rullante
2 Campane da chiesa
Arpa
Chitarra

 

Sotto il palco

3 Tamtamcon microfoni di
contatto
Cassa rullante
Lastra dal tuono
Sirena bassa