• Philip Glass
  • Orphée (1993)

  • Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc (World)

Commissioned by the American Repertory Theater, Cambridge, MA and the Brooklyn Academy of Music

Opera in two acts
Libretto (French) by the composer based on the film by Jean Cocteau.

  • 1(pic).0.1.1/ ( or
  • 2 Sopranos, Mezzo Soprano, 3 Tenors, Baritone, 2 Basses
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • the composer
  • English, French, German

Programme Note

Princessa - soprano
Eurydice - soprano
Heurtebise - tenor
Orphee - baritone

Based on Cocteau's fascinating retelling of the Orpheus myth, "Orphée", the first opera of Philip Glass' Cocteau Trilogy, is an extended, parable on the life of an artist, a poet harassed and misunderstood by peers. His success leads to ridicule by fellow poets, ending in a creatively crippling isolation. With a renewed apprehension of his own mortality, Orphée regains his emotional strength, enabling him to ignore the trials of ordinary life, freeing him to be a poet. The poets Orphée and Cégeste, Euridice, and a mysterious Princess interact within the worlds of the living and the dead, existing in that mysterious realm that separates the two worlds. Love triumphs and thus returns Orphée and Euridice to mortal life, with no remaining consciousness of their unusual time spent between "the worlds." The Princess has violated the laws of life and death one time too many and is banished into oblivion.