Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice Premieres at Lincoln Center

Classic Arts News   Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice Premieres at Lincoln Center
Ricky Ian Gordon's song cycle Orpheus and Euridice premieres tonight at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall on Columbus Circle in Manhattan.

Soprano Elizabeth Futral sings the role of Euridice; clarinetist Todd Palmer is Orpheus. The hour-long work also features the dance troupe Doug Varone and Dancers; choreographer Doug Varone is the director.

The world-premiere production, a presentation of Lincoln Center's Great Performers and American Songbook series, returns on October 7 and 8.

This week's performances also feature pianist Melvin Chen. Set design is by Allen Moyer, costumes by Jane Greenwood, and lighting by Robert Wierzel.

Gordon, a veteran musical-theater composer, began working on Orpheus and Euridice in the mid-1990s, when his partner, Jeffrey Grossi, was struggling with AIDS.

"At the time," Gordon told Playbill earlier this year, "a kind of pre-grief was tearing me apart, knowing that Jeffrey was going to be gone soon, and his virus was taking him from me.

"In my version Euridice doesn't get bitten by a snake; she gets a mysterious virus," he said. "There's a line, 'As she slept, he wept bitterly and dearly, growing more and more bereft, as in increments she left.' It was a way to exorcise my story and prepare myself for what was going to happen, which, of course, it didn't at all because grief is so violent. But if we're lucky enough to have something like music as a vehicle, we get to pour our emotions into that."

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