Orpheus in the Underworld

Megan Rogers, Staff Reporter

Orpheus and Eurydice was a story of music, love and tragedy, but that all changed when the CWU Opera performed an adaptation ofOrpheus in the Underworld” by Anthony T. Buck. The adaptation is based on the greek myth of “Orpheus and Eurydice,” but this production, performed by CWU’s opera last week, has a satirical twist. 

“Orpheus and Eurydice are an unhappily married couple, they don’t love each other and when she goes down to hell with Pluto, Orpheus does not want to go get her,” Dr. Gayla Blaisdell, professor of music, voice and opera, said.

Mairead Rising, a senior vocal performance major, played the lead role of Eurydice..

“Orpheus and Eurydice are married, but we really, really don’t like each other,” Rising said. “We do not want to be together and there’s Public Opinion who comes in and is trying to fix our marriage and make everything perfect and make sure everyone’s being a good person.”

In the original myth, Eurydice is portrayed as a kind and compassionate person, but in this opera her personality is totally flipped.

“No one in this show is a good person,” Rising said. 

Rising gave some insight into her role as Eurydice. 

“I’m an influencer, I pretend to do yoga but I only am doing it for the followers,” Rising said. “I just want attention and want someone to pay attention to me and tell me I’m beautiful. I’m pretty self-absorbed, but I am definitely flamboyant.” 

The opera is under the direction of Dr. Blaisdell as well as in collaboration with CWU’s chamber orchestra, theatre departments and dance program. 

“I’ve actually never met anybody from the dance department. The music building is pretty isolated at the north side of campus,” Rising said. “We have two dancers in the show; they are amazing. It’s been really great to see their work and the choreography that they have been able to put together.”

Dr. Blaisdell said the collaboration with all the departments has been fabulous.

Dr. Blaisdell also shared her excitement about CWU’s Opera being able to perform in McConnell Hall for the first time in almost two decades, as opposed to the concert hall where they usually perform.

“McConnell’s a very busy place and the music department is a very busy place. Getting the two programs to coincide is challenging,” said Dr. Blaisdell.

Dr. Blaisdell said performing in the concert hall or off-campus, the production has been difficult.

“The music building is a beautiful facility and we are grateful every day that we go there to go to classes and go to school and perform in,” Blaisdell said.

 “However, it is a concert hall and a concert hall is not the same as a theater.” Dr. Blaisdell said. Which can make opera productions quite difficult.

“When we’ve had to perform our operas in the concert hall or even off-campus, in the past, the productions are always difficult because we can’t do things that we would like to do that opera really demands,” explains Blaisdell.

Dr. Blaisdell described CWU’s production of Orpheus in the Underworld as a “very fun and funny,” experience. 

“We make fun of opera,” Blaisdell said. “We make fun of society, we make fun of relationships.”