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Orpheus und Eurydike 2012 UNRATED

4.0 out of 5 stars (12) IMDb 8.6/10

Orpheus und Eurydike is interpreted by the great German choreographer Pina Bausch as a personal reading of Greek myth. The music of Christoph W. Gluck is expressed in dance, recounting the joys and anxieties of the Greek god of music in search of his beloved deceased. Each character is portrayed by both a dancer and a singer. Orpheus is played by Yann Bridard, the Greek god in a desperate search for his beloved with his lyre as the weapon. Pina Bausch knows how to combine modern dance with traditional opera, and this stunning production is the result.

Starring:
Waldemar Kmentt, Ingeborg Hallstein
Runtime:
1 hour, 44 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Music
Director Václav Kaslík
Starring Waldemar Kmentt, Ingeborg Hallstein
Supporting actors Judith Blegen, Ballettgruppe Ballettstudio Prag, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Studio Bel Air Classique
MPAA rating Unrated (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Faulk on February 11, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Dance (in bare feet) overshadows the singing in this production of the operatic masterpiece by Christoph W. Gluck premiered in 1762. His goal was "noble simplicity" and he concluded with a happy scene in which Amor revivified dead Orpheus and twice-dead Eurydike to resume their love. This production, however, respects their death.

The three principal roles are movingly danced and sung by Yann Bridard & Maria Riccarda Wesseling (Orpheus), Marie-Agnes Gillot & Julia Kleiter (Eurydike), and Miteki Kudo & Sunhae Im (Amor). The singers appear onstage and remain in character. Orpheus appears throughout, and Eurydike dances in the last two scenes. Most dramatic are the emotionally charged corps and chorus. The costumes designed by Bausch's romantic partner Rolf Borzik (died 1980) for the 1975 premiere are marvels of fluidity (thanks of course to execution by the current costume department). The excellent filming and editing was overseen by Vincent Bataillon.

THE SCENES

(1) Introduction & (2) Grief. At audience-left in a high chair is Eurydike (?) in a white shroud/wedding dress, blood red roses in her lap, looking down passively on her burial site. Black-garbed mourners, more women than men, cringe and twist beneath a black sky, in strict adherence to musical beat. Their arms and hands are in relentless motion, outdancing their feet. At audience-right, Orpheus, in "nude" briefs, stands rigid, before a brown uprooted cedar skeleton. Then he lies face down before a great laurel wreath. The mourners file off, and he rises to dance an agonized solo as he beseeches the gods to return his dead loved one. Thus appears Amor, who tells him he can invade the Underworld and reclaim Eurydike but must not look into her face.
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In general I agree with other reviewers on this. More ballet than opera which is okay, as little to see in opera version, lends itself more to dance. The choreography is quite complex, creative and flowing, and quite satisfying. The weakness is in attempting to bring it to video. Often, with other works, I feel that I am seeing an opera or video better at home than live, as the camera can come up close, feature movements, emotions that would be hard to see from twenty rows back in the opera house. In this case, there are so many centers of interest going on at once at different parts of the stage that it is almost impossible to film in any meaningful way. The film director has the choice of simply locking down the camera at the back of the house so we can see the entire stage, not missing any of the action, but also not seeing anything in close up, or attempting to go in close on some actions, but then losing others. Often, I felt that the camera would cut away from something that I was attending to, to feature some other action of lesser interest. Toward the end of the opera, the cameraman and director seemed to have a more consistent, artistically valid rationale for camera movement and cutting, but by then I was sufficiently irritated by wrong choices that it spoiled, at least in part, my enjoyment. Still, awkwardness of filming aside, this is still a stunningly choreographed and performed work, well worth owning and seeing.
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The German choreographer Pina Bausch seeks to combine elements in their work. Theater, music and modern dance reflecting human feelings. This was attempted by many, but few can have a unique style. His trademark is the stage dance, several times turned to popular music, text, extreme creativity. The risk is part of your DNA, never settled, always sought innovation. His work combines despair, suffering and sorrow with the "warm expression of love for life."
Often draws on personal biography of his dancers, forget the plot and makes the individual the center of attention. His body language is unique, incisive, provocative. This is the differential, the peculiar and creative choreographer found to produce.
Orpheus und Eurydike is your personal reading of Greek myth. Transforms the music of Christoph W. Gluck in dance, but not forget the roots of the work. The song is present in three characters, recounting the joys and anxieties of the Greek god of music in search of his beloved deceased. Each character has his double, a dancer and a singer. The singers are outstanding: Maria Ricarda Wesseling (Orpheus), Julia Kleiter (Euridike) and Im Sunhae (Love), play their characters just right. Accompany the dancers and interact with them.
The dance is the central theme, the music flows to the plot, but the steps tell the story. The distribution of the dancers on the stage is differentiated scenic. Width, depth and subgroups show the unique style of the choreographer.
Orpheus is played by Yann Bridard: the Greek god is naked, desperate search for his beloved, his lyre is the weapon. Enthralls all who are on their way with agile steps, deep, dramatic. Never expressed much smaller movements.
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I can't imagine why anyone would give this five stars. Relying on those reviews, I bought it and was disappointed-- not because it was hard to film or because the music didn't sound baroque enough-- but because it seemed contrived. Most of the value of the production comes from Gluck, not Bausch. Balanchine had the right idea with this music. What were all those strings cluttering up the stage as Orpheus made his way to Hades? Oh I get it! Eurydice can go-- but there are strings attached! And that endlessly repeated gesture of the palm covering the eyes-- better not look!-- quickly became irritating. I like ballets where the dancing is beautiful, not "meaningful." (What is this supposed to mean? What is that supposed to mean?) When Eurydice dies for good, Orpheus's mezzo-soprano voice continues to lament her death, but Orpheus the dancer is crouched immobile in the corner-- Bausch's tacit admission that maybe she wasn't quite up to the task of choreographing this story. I like Marie-Agnes Gillot. Too bad Bausch gave her more moping than dancing.
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