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News - 'Orpheus Alive' | premiere by Missy Mazzoli and choreographer Robert Binet

Emma Hawes & Harrison James in Orpheus Alive, photo by Karolina Kuras
Friday, November 15, 2019

Artists have long been fascinated with the Greek myth of Orpheus, the gifted musician who rescues Eurydice from death — only to lose her again in a moment of doubt. At its core, theirs is a story about love, trust, and the redemptive potential of art. Orpheus Alive is the first commissioned score for a major ballet company, the National Ballet of Canada, by acclaimed composer Missy Mazzoli, fluent in genres from rock to classical opera. Robert Binet, Choreographic Associate of the National Ballet of Canada, brings a fresh perspective to the myth, casting Orpheus as a woman, Eurydice as a man, and the audience as the gods of the underworld who decide their fate. With spoken-word passages for the cast, Orpheus Alive is a story of love, loss, and an extraordinary artist facing the limits of his mortality.

Watch rehearsals of Orpheus Alive with Robert Binet
Watch rehearsals of Orpheus Alive with Robert Binet

Listen to excerpts of the score with Missy Mazzoli and Music Director David Briskin
Listen to excerpts of the score with Missy Mazzoli and Music Director David Briskin

Music is central to the Orpheus myth, which has been told in music — particularly opera — for hundreds of years. Grammy-nominated Mazzoli incorporates the musical history of Orpheus in her original score. Binet choreographed to Mazzoli’s piece These Worlds in Us on an earlier ballet of the same name, which premiered at a gala in 2014.
The creative team includes Rosamund Small (Writer, Dramaturge and Text Direction), Hyemi Shin (Set and Costume Design), Tom Visser (Lighting Design), Karolina Kuras (Projection Design). Excerpts of Orpheus Alive were performed at Guggenheim's Works & Process in New York City in September prior to the world premiere in Toronto. The program includes the company premiere of George Balanchine's Chaconne featuring the Christoph Willibald Gluck score Orfeo ed Euridice.
The National Ballet of Canada: November 15-21, 2019
Music of Missy Mazzoli
Guggenheim's Works & Process discussion 2019
excerpts from the workshop production at TEDxToronto 2015

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