Riotous journey to the Underworld: Royal Academy’s Orphée in Hackney

Offenbach: Orphée aux enfers ****

Royal Academy Opera, Hackney Empire, 3rd February 2017

“Folies Bergère does Greek gods” is how director Martin Duncan describes Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers, his satirical opéra bouffe which pokes fun at mythology and its traditional dry and dusty treatment on stage. It outraged some critics at its 1858 première, Jules Janin declaring it a “profanation of holy and glorious antiquity”… which only served to draw bigger crowds to the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens! Although Duncan’s spicy production for Royal Academy Opera may be short on satire, it’s high on camp, providing plenty of chortles and guffaws on opening night.

Ilona Revolskaya (Diana) and ensemble
© Robert Workman

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

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