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‘Orpheus in the Underworld’ is One Hell of an Operetta

The satirical romcom premieres on October 18 in Moores Opera House.

We all know the story by now. Boy meets girl, girl dies from snakebite, boy goes to hell to bring girl back. Tale as old as time, truly.

Based on the ancient Greek legend, “Orpheus in the Underworld” opens October 18 at the Moores Opera House. The satirical operetta turns the mythos on its head by introducing shock and humor that’ll leave audiences laughing. The same can be said about the show’s relationship to the classical music genre. Unlike many operas, “Orpheus in the Underworld” will be sung in English with projected text over the stage. The operetta will also feature tuneful dancing like the famous can-can and a… romantic, hellish scene between Eurydice, Orpheus’ wife, and a fly who both take part in a duet comprised of buzzing.

Moores School of Music (MSM) graduate Michelle Girardot, who plays as Eurydice, describes “Orpheus in the Underworld” as “not your average opera.” While some operas are dense, this operetta can be enjoyed without prior knowledge of the art form or, even, Greek mythology. Girardot adds that, because “Orpheus in the Underworld” is a fun twist on a well-known story, audiences will have a good time from start to finish.

“‘Orpheus’ is funny and a little shocking,” Girardot laughs. “My character is stuck in hell at one point, and she start’s singing about how her life is absolute hell. That’s actually a line. ‘Her life is absolute hell.’ This is before the heartfelt scene between her and the fly.”

While the show features other engaging and entertaining elements, “Orpheus in the Underworld” also highlights MSM graduate talent. Moores Opera Center Director Buck Ross, who has staged over 50 opera productions, selects shows based on student talent, giving graduates the chance to truly sing their heart out.

“Moores School of Music gives us all the tools and experiences we need to succeed,” Girardot says. “The school chooses the whole season after it’s heard from everyone and offers students the space to perform and play to their strengths.”

The selected operas also challenge graduates, pushing their vocal skills and acting chops. Girardot says her role as Eurydice has been a stretch since the character is “a little out there.” The operetta encourages her to explore how she does (or doesn’t!) relate to Eurydice as well as how she can make the character relatable to audiences.

“I want to make sure people like her, but she’s not a good person; you know, she goes to hell,” Girardot says. “Still, ‘Orpheus’ pushes me to ask and answer, ‘How do I make this funny? How do I make her a well-rounded character?’ It’s been a growing, rewarding role opportunity.”

Audiences can see and learn more about Eurydice later this October. Girardot is sure attendees will have a helluva good time.

“People will have a great time, be entertained and maybe a little shocked!”

“Orpheus in the Underworld” runs from October 18 – 21 in the Moores Opera House.