SUNDAY: Doug Varone's "Orpheus and Euridice" in Chapel Hill | Arts | Indy Week
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Saturday, June 28, 2008

SUNDAY: Doug Varone's "Orpheus and Euridice" in Chapel Hill

Posted by on Sat, Jun 28, 2008 at 1:14 PM

You heard about the Doug Varone performance -- this weekend, in Chapel Hill -- right? [Editor's note: This performance closed Sunday, June 29. Varone's company performs at the ADF next Monday-Wednesday, July 7-9, In Reynolds Theater. ]

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The Long Leaf Opera Festival is restaging his production of the 2005 Ricky Ian Gordon opera Orpheus and Euridice, with the original leads -- soprano Elizabeth Futral as Euridice, clarinetist Todd Palmer as Orpheus, and Varone's dancers -- as the final offering in their 2008 festival. The one remaining performance: Sunday, June 29, at 2 pm, in UNC's Memorial Hall.

No, the dance snobs weren't terribly impressed with the 2005 Lincoln Center premiere. (Perhaps they missed the news that Gordon's AIDS-era libretto was inspired by the film Black Orpheus, and not earlier operatic masterpieces by Gluck or Monteverdi.) But others clearly were.

The Long Leafs have a long history in the region. They've consistently had the most adventurous programming of the handful of regional opera groups.

The down side? Their community-level orchestras and vocalists and fluctuating direction and sets and costumes haven't always matched their stated ambition to stage professional-grade productions of English-based opera.

But since Varone is directing his original performers -- and the work is for three solo musicians, without orchestra -- most of the usual variables seem to have been taken out of the mix here. The one remaining question mark: the pianist in this three-musician ensemble -- the one role not identified anywhere in the extensive publicity on the festival's website.

Ticket information, here.

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