Artist Of The Week: Matthew Aucoin

American Composer World Premieres His Third Opera At LA Opera

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Steven Laxton)

Throughout the years the story of Orfeo and Euridice has been portrayed on stage in several different works and operas. Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” has dominated the scene while Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” has slowly seen a resurgence in popularity. But it doesn’t stop there as Haydn, Charpentier, Luigi Rossi and even Offenbach put their mark on the story. And this week Matthew Aucoin will bring his latest iteration of the story to the operatic stage.

Aucoin, a well-known composer and rising star in the opera world, will world premiere his third opera “Eurydice” at the LA Opera. The new take, written by librettist Sarah Ruhl, reimagines the Orpheus myth from the perspective of its heroine.

“Eurydice” is by far the biggest opera to date as his first two “Second Nature” and “Crossing” were chamber operas. Both works have gained appeal throughout the years since their world premieres at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and American Repertory Theatre with Music-Theater Group.

At just the age of 30, Aucoin served as the inaugural Artist in Residence in 2016 at the LA Opera and has since had a long standing relationship with the company conducting such works as “Akhnaten” and “Rigoletto” and his own compositions “Crossing” and Joby Talbot’s new score for the film “Vampyr.” He was also the recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant.

Of his works critics have said, “His scores draw upon myriad modernist and Neo-Classical styles, with hints of Britten, Bernstein, Thomas Adès, techno and much more.”

For audiences, who will not be in Los Angeles, “Eurydice” was commissioned by the LA Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, so it is set to headed to New York in the coming seasons. Aucoin will also be part of the Chamber concert “Veils for Desire” at the LA Opera during the 2020-21 season.


While Matthew Aucoin’s works have yet to obtain commercial recordings, here are a number of excerpts from his works including “Eurydice.”




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