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Jacques Offenbach: Orpheus in the Underworld (1997)



Credited cast:
Alexandru Badea ...
Elizabeth Vidal ...
Reinaldo Macias ...
Dale Duesing ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Franck Cassard ...
Marie-Noëlle de Callataÿ ...
André Jung ...
John Styx
Desirée Meiser ...
L'Opinion Publique
Laurence Misonne ...
Michele Patzakis ...
Sonja Theodoridou ...
Jacqueline van Quaille ...


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Should stay in the underworld
3 November 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Apart from a couple of touches that are somewhat enjoyable like Alexandru's Badea's fiddle playing and Offenbach's picture falling off the wall, this Orpheus in the Underworld is a mess. The production values fail to be convincing, some scenes like the locomotive scene are too darkly lit, while the costumes and sets are far from sumptuous in colour and design. The video directing is uninteresting and there are too many close-ups revealing things like Dale Duesing's sweating, which is natural on an opera stage but really not a pleasant sight on camera. You'd think the staging would help, but it is also the complete opposite. It is far too gimmicky, often distasteful and has no life, magic or charm, and that is including the most famous part of the work the Can Can. In short, it is really dreary stuff with only a couple of touches kind of working. I wish I could say the musical values were better, but even they failed to work. Offenbach's score is irresistible, but the orchestral playing gives the impression that they just want to get home and the conducting fails to give any zest to the performance too. The chorus mug their way through the production and are poorly balanced. The principal performances aren't that much better. Alexandru Badea's fiddle playing is nice, but he completely fails to give an already narcissistic character like Orpheus any likability and he sounds strained a lot of the time. I like Dale Duesing's voice but he looks lost and doesn't seem to be enjoying himself at all(and I can't blame him). Elisabeth Vidal has the best voice of the cast, but her performance is let down by overused and really off-putting facial expressions. The rest of the cast fail to make an impression, as nothing in the stage direction, apart from Juno's boredom and mockery, gives them anything that is interesting. Overall, has a couple of decent ideas but the rest is a disaster. 2/10 Bethany Cox

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