Lyric Opera’s Ballet-Centered ‘Orphee et Eurdyice’ to Broadcast on PBS in 2018

By Logan Martell

Lyric Opera of Chicago has announced that its  premiere production of Gluck’s “Orphee et Eurydice” will be broadcast on PBS’s Great Performances series. WNET New York will be in Chicago to film the Oct. 6 and 9 performances at the Lyric Opera House. The broadcast of the recorded performance is scheduled to air in 2018.

Produced by famed choreographer John Neumeier and featuring The Joffrey Ballet company, this production will undoubtedly bring new life to one of opera’s oldest, most influential works. Gluck’s “Orphee et Eurydice” was reworked from its 1762 iteration, seeing the change of Orpheus to a high tenor rather than alto castrato, as well as a sizeable addition of ballet to the score; “Dance of the Furies” and “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” being two such additions which have been met with much praise.

Among the cast are luminous figures as conductor Harry Bicket, chorus master Michael Black, and ballet mistress August Tye. John Neumeier, in addition to directing and choreographing the production, has also designed the costumes, sets, and lighting.

Lyric Opera general director Anthony Freud says: “All of us at Lyric are delighted to share the excitement of this important new production of ‘Orphee te Eurydice’ with the Great Performances audience. It is a breathtakingly beautiful piece of music theater newly imagined by John Neumeier, the extraordinary choreographer who began his dance career in Chicago, then moved to Germany, where he has been artistic director of the Hamburg Ballet for over four decades. The cast stars three outstanding international artists plus the exceptional dancers of The Joffrey Ballet, with conductor Harry Bicket, who is legendary in this repertoire, leading the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Thanks to Great Performances this brilliant new production will be seen and heard by many more people than can attend the live performances here at Lyric.”

PBS’s Great Performances series, now in its 45th season, has a well-established record of broadcasting live performances for national viewing. The television presentation will be directed by Matthew Diamond, having directed the broadcast of Bel Canto – the Opera with Great Performances in January of 2017, and in collaboration with Great Performances executive director David Horn.