Orpheus and Euridice

Date 2nd April 2014
Society North Norfolk Chamber Opera
Venue Auden Theatre, Greshams School, Holt
Type of Production opera
Director Jeffrey Davies
Musical Director Maggi Warren
Choreographer Sasza Zargowski


Author: Susan DuPont

North Norfolk Chamber Opera  presented their production of ‘Orpheus and Euridice’ to celebrate 300 years since the birth of the composer Gluck.

The North Norfolk Chamber Orchestra, led by Keith Hobday and keyboard from James Laird, conducted by Maggi Warren set the mood of the piece with their balanced and excellent interpretation of the score, certainly the correct period sound.

Under Jeffrey Davies, the direction and atmosphere and interpretation of this opera was all that one desired, the casting worked extremely well, the groupings on the staging  gave good pictures and the costumes in shades from creams through earthy tones and terracotta to red very pleasing to the eye.

The Norwich Historical Dance Group, under Sasza Zargowski added considerably to the mood of the production with original 18th century choreography of sarabande, musette, and gavotte.

As the main title role, Orpheus, Karen Harries was exceptional, an inspiration to the part with moving passion and reactions.   Her superb golden voice is remembered from the production of Dido a few years ago, she was mellowness and perfection of tones, every word heard with clarity and interpreted in movement and feeling.    What a joy and privilege to hear and see her.

Interesting and encouraging that the other roles were double-cast to offer opportunity to the singing talent of the group. On the night that I attended the role of Euridice, sung by Jayne Burch with a clear and pure soprano, flowed and harmonised so well with the voice of Orpheus, a very moving performance in her distress, love, loss, and unfortunate misunderstanding in the situation required from the story.

An attention-requiring Amor from Melissa Sampson, almost boy soprano in this Cupid role and suitably costumed, she a command and dominance with clarity as the tale is told. Bridget Roper as Blessed Spirit, and Des Holmes with Janet Bryant-Heron as Shepherd and Shepherdess in their supporting roles gave very good vocals and clear harmonies. The entire ensemble were excellent in the big company numbers, certainly the quality of voices and tones and harmonies were a delight to hear from the stage and all should be congratulated on the professionalism of the singing.