Orphée et Eurydice or The Smile of the Machine

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June 2020

Tragédie-opéra in three acts (1774)
Music by Christoph Willibald Gluck
Libretto by Pierre-Louis Moline


In French language with German surtitles
New production of the Theater an der Wien in the Kammeroper



The Apollonian singer Orpheus has lost his beloved wife Eurydice by the bite of a poisonous snake. In a cypress grove shepherds and nymphs lament with him their early death and decorate their grave with flowers. The winds carry Orpheus' lamentations to the gods who so cruelly robbed him of his beloved. Orpheus is unwilling to submit to his fate and wants to go to the underworld to seek Eurydice. Amor appears and tells him what Jupiter, moved by his pain, has decided: The singer is allowed to descend into the underworld. If he succeeds with his singing in making the furies and monsters of Hades mild, Eurydice will be returned to him. However, he must not look at Eurydice until they have crossed the Styx and have not betrayed Jupiter's commandment. Delighted, Orpheus makes his way to the underworld under Amor's admonitions. There, furies and guards oppress him and try to deny him access to the Hades. However, Orpheus succeeds in appeasing them with a gripping lament that implores mercy. The path to the Elysium, to the realms of the blessed, is cleared for him, where Eurydice is supplied to him by the shy spirits. Together they make their way to the upper world through the labyrinthine corridors of Hades. Disturbed by Orpheus' distracted gaze, however, doubts arise in Eurydice as to whether it is really her husband she is following through the dark chasms. She harasses him with questions and accusations and begins to doubt his love, as she cannot explain his rejecting, hasty behaviour. Fearful, Eurydice prefers to die again and return to the tranquility of the Elysium rather than unlovedly start a new, joyless life. Orpheus, in desperation, breaks his commandment and turns to Eurydice, who sinks dead into his arms. Full of pain Orpheus wants to take his own life, which is prevented by Amor. Ashamed of the greatness of this love, he brings Eurydice back to life. Happily united, the couple pays homage to the god of love. 

Program and cast

Theater an der Wien

About the Theater an der Wien

The New Opera House is not just any theatre, but the one that Emanuel Schikaneder, the all-round genius, actor, impresario with a flair for organization but above all librettist of The Magic Flute, had built in 1801 in Vienna in keeping with the spirit of Mozart.

To coincide with the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth the Theater an der Wien presents itself as a new opera house from January 2006. As a “season” opera house with productions all the year round the Theater an der Wien carves a new and independent niche in the realm of high-quality culture in Vienna. For twelve months of the year, with one premiere every month, opera will be performed under the “stagione”, or season, system: that means the cast remains unchanged from the first performance to the last one, which guarantees that the very highest international standards are maintained.

The theatre’s modern, accessible approach to music theatre as demonstrated by the works performed, the overall artistic concept Bespielung and the artistes is further underlined by the building itself, its architecture and the vibrancy of its location. The surroundings and materials, the intimate atmosphere and perfect acoustics in the historical theatre prepare the senses to experience beauty. The Theater an der Wien deliberately enters into a symbiotic relationship with its lively surroundings on the Naschmarkt street market and the young cultural scene centred in the Schleifmühl quarter.

How to get there

With public transport:

We can be reached by public transport: 

U1, U2 und U4 Station Karlsplatz, Exit Secession
Bus 59A Station Bärenmühldurchgang
Bus 57A Station Laimgrubengasse, pedestrians via Laimgrubengasse to Linke Wienzeile

Fleischmarkt 24, 1010 Wien

We can be reached by public transport:
U1, U4: Station Schwedenplatz
Tram Linie D (bei Ablenukung über Kai), 1, 2: Station Schwedenplatz
Bus 3A (on workdays)

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