Jakub Jósef Orlinski, Meigui Zhang, Nicole Heaston Headline San Francisco Opera’s ‘Orpheus and Eurydice’

By David Salazar
(Credit: Jiyang Chen)

San Francisco Opera is set to open a new production of Gluck’s “Orpheus and Eurydice” on Nov. 15, 2022.

The opera will feature countertenor Jakub Jósef Orlinski in his company debut alongside Meigui Zhang and Nicole Heaston. Peter Whelan, in his American debut, will conduct the opera, which will be directed by Matthew Ozawa and choreographed by Rena Butler.

“Two elements comprise our production: Orpheus’ memories of Eurydice and the terrain of his mind. Because emotions and relationships can be so dynamic, we investigate Orpheus and Eurydice’s relationship through richly athletic dance,” Ozawa said in an official press statement. “The lovers are doubled by dancers and each Orpheus and Eurydice couple represent a distinct phase in their journey. To depict the landscape of Orpheus’ mind, we collaborated with physicians from the University of California San Francisco to investigate brain images of individuals who experienced trauma. As a result, every projection we use is made up of brain scans or pictures of neurons and neural pathways. This rich visual tapestry displays our neurobiology, the dance depicts the memory landscape, and the music the emotional journey.”

This is only the second season in the company’s 100-year history to feature the Gluck opera in staged form. The company previously staged “Orfeo ed Euridice” back in 1959 with Blanche Thebom starring. Then it returned in 1995 in concert form in the French version by Hector Berlioz. This year’s production will be in Italian and runs through Dec. 1, 2022 for a total of five performances.