Orpheus – Monteverdi reimagined, Opera North’s innovative new collaboration with South Asian Arts-uk, is available for viewers around the globe to watch free online in partnership with the European streaming platform OperaVision.
Filmed at Leeds Grand Theatre, the opera will be available to watch on demand for 6 months until 30 April 2023.
Directed by Anna Himali Howard, Orpheus is a reimagining of one of the earliest surviving operas, Monteverdi’s 1607 work L’Orfeo. Weaving a new musical and dramatic tapestry from western and Indian classical music, it features additional composition and arrangements by Jasdeep Singh Degun, working as co-Music Director with early music expert Laurence Cummings. The opera is sung in Italian and Urdu, with additional sections in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi and Bengali.
Some passages of the opera have been rescored and arranged for Indian classical instruments including the sitar, tabla and tar shehnai, in addition to western baroque instruments such as harpsichord, theorbo and lirone. The project has grown out of Opera North’s longstanding collaborative relationship with South Asian Arts-uk, a Leeds based centre of excellence in Indian classical music.
Chiranjeeb Chakraborty as Charavaaho (Shepherd), Vijay Rajput as Charavaaho (Shepherd), Céline Saout on swarmandal and Nicholas Watts as Orpheus © Tristram Kenton
Jasdeep Singh Degun, co-Music Director for Orpheus and Opera North Artist-in-Residence, comments:
“I’m very happy to be beginning my tenure as artist-in-residence at Opera North with the new and exciting production of Orpheus. As well as acting as joint Music Director on the opera with the brilliant Laurence Cummings, I have been fortunate to compose new music alongside Monteverdi’s masterpiece. I’m very excited to be bringing such a stellar cast of Indian classical musicians and vocalists to Leeds – these are, quite literally, the best of the best Indian classical musicians in the UK!”
Keranjeet Kaur Virdee, Chief Executive & Artistic Director, SAA-uk, adds:
“I imagine that when Monteverdi composed L’Orfeo, he would have met with diverse musicians who influenced him creatively. Now, through this collaboration, we have the opportunity to bring together a cast who are masters in their own right, who can break down boundaries and cross borders through music to touch our hearts and minds. Ultimately, they remind us that we are all humans with lots of shared similarities and particularities that deserve to be celebrated unapologetically.”
Dean Robinson as Pluto and Chandra Chakraborty as Proserpina with members of the Orpheus company © Tristram Kenton