Jessica Renfro (Diana), Ryan de Ryke (Jupiter), Siobhan Kolker (Venus) in Orpheus in the Underworld, 2008, Opera Vivente, photo by Cory Weaver
Jupiter and Juno are transformed into a philandering televangelist and his mascara-abusing wife, but Jupiter's heavy Texan-twang elocutions are just as often spoofs of President Bush. Eurydice becomes a gold-digging party girl fallen out of love with her husband, the violin-wielding Orpheus, whom she credits with "inventing classical crossover." (Bowen made his own English version of the libretto, changing not only the dialogue but much of the sung text.) Both Orpheus and Jupiter live in fear of Public Opinion, costumed here as a bun-topped, black-suited killjoy (in the libretto, the trouser role of L'Opinion Publique is described only as un jeune homme). A hip-hop Mercury (dreadlocks, sideways cap, and bling-bling) plays on the words of the character's rondo saltarelle ("Eh hop! Eh hop! Place à Mercure!"), while the other gods become a wrecked floozy (Venus), a straight-laced, glasses-wearing good girl (Minerva), a sexually conflicted midshipman (Mars), and a butch dyke (Cupid, also a trouser role).
Tim Smith, An updated, uneven 'Orpheus' from Opera Vivente (Critical Mass, April 14)
This production repeats today, as well as April 17 and 19.