Orfeo ed Euridice
By Christoph Willibald Gluck
Manchester Cathedral, 28 March 2014
Orpheus, distraught with grief, pleads for the return of his dead love.
He goes down to the depths of Hades to get her back. In most versions of the myth, notably Rilke’s great poem (which should be read alongside his ‘Requiem’), Orpheus is unsuccessful but in Gluck’s baroque masterpiece he triumphs.
It was an extraordinary privilege to experience this opera in the sacred confines of Manchester Cathedral, amid candlelight, pools of shadow and myriad iconograpy depicting another, a more significant overcoming of death.
Yet wherever and whenever you see Gluck’s opera, may you meet an Orpheus as moving, as stricken with loss and desperate for reunion, as Heather Lowe. She played the lead role superbly and plucked at the audience’s heartstrings as sublimely as Orpheus at his lyre.
A memorable evening.