Orpheus In The Underworld

After the brief overture we find ourselves in 1960’s Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It’s a typically bustling afternoon in Basin Spring Park, filled with towns folk, artists, buskers, and hippies selling their wares. Eurydice, a flower child selling daisy chains and head wreaths, enters, and sings of the long haired boy, Aristaeus, with whom she is having an affair. Suddenly her husband, Orpheus, a bluegrass fiddler and teacher, appears. Eurydice and Orpheus confront each other, and confess their hapless marriage is over. She tells him that she loves Aristaeus and, adding insult to injury, she cannot stand Orpheus’ fiddle-scraping. Deeply offended and in revenge, Orpheus starts to play his latest 75-minute concerto while Eurydice begs for him to stop.

Orpheus would love to relinquish Eurydice to Aristaeus, but Public Opinion will not allow it. Instead, Orpheus decides to get rid of Aristaeus, and warns Eurydice of a nasty surprise (a bow with poisoned rosin!) which he has left in the park . When Aristaeus appears, Eurydice tries to stop him entering the park, but he ignores her. Eurydice follows him, but suffers the fate meant for Aristaeus. Aristaeus suddenly turns into his real self: Pluto, Lord of Hades, as Eurydice falls, dying, into his arms. Pluto brings her briefly back to life so she can leave a farewell note for Orpheus. That done, Pluto takes her down to live with him in his underworld realm.

Orpheus finds Eurydice’s note and, after his initial surprise, realizes how pleased he is to be rid of his wife. His joy is short-lived, as Public Opinion enters and demands that Orpheus go down to Hades to get Eurydice back, as she disapproves of the separation, and reminds him of the sanctity of marriage and shame of divorce. Orpheus protests but, mindful of his professional reputation, he grudgingly agrees.

The scene changes to New Olympus, a swampy backwoods Louisiana bayou, where the gods having been partying at the gin mill, and are passed out. Venus, Cupid and Mars, however, have been up galavanting all night. They return home, decidedly worn out. Soon afterwards, Mercury, messenger of the gods, arrives. The young, swaggering god, ordered by Jupiter to investigate the disappearance of Eurydice, comes breezing into New Olympus to tell of his findings.

Orpheus enters together with Public Opinion, who wants to ensure that Orpheus does the honorable thing, that is, ask Jupiter to restore his wife to him. Pluto, of course, has lied to Jupiter about the location of Eurydice, whom he is keeping in his underground boudoir in Hades. She is guarded by John Styx, former King of Beotia. Now reduced to being Pluto’s jailer, he tries to entertain Eurydice with an account of his royal past.

When Orpheus and the gods arrive in the Underworld, Styx hides Eurydice. When they cannot locate her, Jupiter becomes obsessed with finding her. What he really wants, though, is to have Eurydice for himself, and to that end he enlists the help of one of his children, Cupid. Cupid employs the Love Detectives, who are also unable to find the much sought after Eurydice. Jupiter is reminded he has powers of transformation, and turns himself into a bee, drawn to the flower Eurydice, and is able to fly thru the keyhole of the locked door. Eurydice is enamored with the bee. After an intense wooing, Jupiter reveals himself and invites Eurydice to accompany him to an annual parade on New Olympus.

Eurydice attends disguised as a bacchante, a follower of Bacchus, god of wine, but Pluto realizes who she is and blocks Jupiter’s path when Jupiter tries to make off with her. Jupiter again accuses Pluto of abducting Eurydice. When Orpheus and Public Opinion appear, Jupiter tells Orpheus he can take his wife away, but under one condition: he must not look back at her as they go, or he loses her forever. When Orpheus fails this test, Euridyce is a free woman, and gets to go with whomever she pleases. Public Opinion is disappointed with the low morals of the crowd, but everyone else is delighted and the operetta climaxes with the energetic Can-Can, danced by all the gods and goddesses.


Inspiration Point Fine Arts
16311 US-62
Eureka Springs, AR 72632

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Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632


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