Orpheus and Eurydice is Pina Bausch’s masterpiece and the ultimate symbol of the genius of this German choreographer, who died in June 2009.
The Paris Opera, February 2008: for the first time in her career Pina Bausch had agreed to having one of her works televised and issued on DVD.
>From the outset it had been Gluck’s wish that Orpheus and Eurydice should have a dance accompaniment; and it was Pina Bausch’s respect for his dramatic power that led her to transform the work into a tanzoper, a danced opera. Her version tackles the genre head on in its expression of Orpheus’s suffering, the suffering human beings must overcome in confronting unquenched desire.
The dramatis personae – Orpheus, Eurydice and Cupid – are voices. But they are, too, bodies that dance. Pina Bausch’s aim was to create characters who are split, as if torn between their “singing” and “dancing” natures.
Rather than contradicting Gluck, this version of the myth takes his vision further – and darkens it. While the free flow of the dance reveals bodies driven by love, it also, and above all, suggests their vulnerability. The singing entreats Zeus and moves him; but the dancing – bare feet anchored to the earth – is a reminder of the human condition, of the ineluctability of death.
« Bausch’s Orpheus and Eurydice seemed unearthly in its beauty, attaining a rare and harmonious blend of music, choreography and dance which left the spectator with a feeling of peace and a belief in the possibilities of human nature. A privileged evening. »
« Pina Bausch’s production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, one of the most beautiful contemporary works to grace the stage of the Palais Garnier, is a masterpiece. It is a combination of music, opera, classical drama and dance merged into one sublime and balanced whole.
Patricia Boccadoro – Culturekiosque.com
« The Paris Opera Ballet first acquired “Orpheus” in 2005, and the dancers look amazingly at home with her angular physical vocabulary and austere emotional terrain. With the magnificent musicians, they offer complete submission to their material, and to us, the sublime. »
Roslyn Sulcas – Herald Tribune