Music: By Christoph Willibald Gluck (Orfeo ed Euridice, produced 1762, with ballet music from the Paris production of 1774). Libretto by Raniero da Calzabigi.
Choreography: By George Balanchine.
Production: Stage production conceived by George Balanchine and Pavel Tchelitchew. Scenery and costumes by Pavel Tchelitchew. Scenery painted by Joseph Novak.
Premiere: May 22, 1936, Metropolitan Opera, New York. Danced by American Ballet Ensemble. Conductor: Richard Hageman.
Cast: SINGERS: Orpheus, Anna Kaskas; Eurydice, Jeanne Pengelly; Amor, Maxine Stellman; and others. DANCERS: Orpheus, Lew Christensen; Eurydice, Daphne Vane; Amor, William Dollar; Shepherds and Nymphs, Furies and Ghosts from Hades, Heroes from Elysium, Followers of Orpheus, corps de ballet.
Act I: SCENE I. At the
tomb of Eurydice. SCENE 2. Entrance to Hades.
Act II: SCENE I. The
Elysian Fields. SCENE 2. The Gardens of the Temple of Love.
Note: An original production staged by Balanchine at the Metropolitan; the singers were invisible in the orchestra pit while the dancers performed the action on stage; atmospheric scenic effects ended with a vast night-sky of stars. The innovative and controversial production was presented only twice.
Balanchine reconceived and directed Orpheus and Eurydice for the Hamburgische Staatsoper in 1963; this all-new choreography.was performed in a new production of the Théâtre National de l'Opéra, Paris, in 1973 and the Chicago Lyric Opera in 1975 and forms the basis for the ballet Chaconne , first presented by the New York City Ballet in 1976.
Other Versions: 1963, Hamburgische Staatsoper.