Orpheus in the Underworld 2009

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In Arcadia, the muse Calliope is angry at the behaviour of her son & his wife - with good reason, for Orpheus & Eurydice hate each other, & are both happily having affairs with other people. Eurydice is smitten with the shepherd next door, Aristeus, without knowing that he is in fact the God of the Underworld, Pluto, in diguise. Orpheus plays right into his hands by planting poisonous snakes in the field where the lovers usually meet, & Pluto manages to get Eurydice fatally bitten with ease. She's delighted to find out that her lover is a God & is very eager to join him in the Afterlife.  Orpheus is overjoyed to find she's dead - but his mother is not, & insists that he accompany her to Olympus to ask for his wife back, whether he wants to or not.

Scene 2 opens with the sleeping Gods on Olympus - Cupid & Venus return, having crept down to Earth overnight to make mischief, but the rest of them are all desperately bored. The hunting horns of Diana wake them - she's distraught at not seeing her mortal admirer Actaeon, & very angry when she finds out that Father of All & King of Heaven, Jupiter, has turned him into a stag to save her reputation as the Virgin Goddess. Queen Juno, protector of Marriage, has heard about Eurydice & is very suspicious of her frequently-unfaithful husband, but he protests that he is innocent this time - his brother Pluto is to blame. The Messenger of the Gods, Mercury, confirms that Pluto has indeed got a new, very pretty mortal girlfriend, & goes to collect him to explain himself to the other Gods. No sooner has Pluto arrived than, greatly to his delight, the other Gods decide to revolt against Jupiter - they are sick of ambrosia & the endless Niceness of Heaven. They are interrupted by the arrival of Calliope & Orpheus, who accuses Pluto of abducting his wife & asks for justice. Jupiter decides the best solution is to go down to Hell himself to check out Eurydice - in every sense - and, to their great delight, agrees to take all the other Gods down with him.

At the start of Act 2, Eurydice is bored to tears - Pluto jealously keeps her locked away, doesn't visit her nearly often enough, & the only soul she sees is the caretaker John Styx, the former King of the Boetians - he thinks she's wonderful, but merely gives her the creeps. Jupiter works out where Pluto has her locked up, & Cupid works out how he can still manage to visit her - transformed into a fly small enough to get through the keyhole. This works, & they get on extremely well....meanwhile the other Gods are all getting on extremely well too, sampling the decadent delights of the Underworld, especially the wine....Jupiter brings Eurydice to the party as a Bacchante, a devotee of Bacchus, & she sings a song in his praise; the whole company joins first in a stately Minuet, then a truly Infernal Galop. Jupiter then offers Orpheus his legendary chance to rescue Eurydice, but has no intention of letting her go, making sure that Orpheus turns round by launching a thunderbolt at him. Finally free from her hated husband, Eurydice is now free to choose her immortal lover - but instead of the squabbling Jupiter & Pluto, she chooses the gorgeous God of Wine,Bacchus!

 

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