Orpheus and Eurydice

Slovak National Theatre – Opera, Bratislava, 2010
Author: Christoph Willibald Gluck
Directed by Mariusz Treliński

about the production

There is some symbolism in it – history attributed Gluck’s opera Orpheus and Eurydice (1762) the title “a reformatory opera”. Its latest Bratislava production, produced as a co-production with the Warsaw Opera (Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa), appears the same in the Slovak theatre context. It was produced at the Slovak National Theatre Opera by the international team, led by the renowned Polish director Mariusz Treliński.

The mythical Eurydice dies from snake’s bite. Treliński’s Eurydice also dies from poisoning – by the snake of frustration, life dissatisfaction, which lead her to a suicide. In her marriage with poet Orpheus she does not miss anything financially, as it is clear from the stage design by Boris Kudlička, a top Slovak stage designer working mainly abroad, as well as the luxuriously elegant costumes made by the Polish costume designer Magdalena Musiał. However, only rarely there is the equally sign between material wealth and real human happiness.

The deeply emotional production deals with the self-purifying process of the farewell to the loved person, struggle with memories and remorse. It does not illustrate the plot; it builds the meta-story. Treliński’s ambition, however, was not to provoke. The sensitively tuned nerve of the work made visually a good use of the emotions and moods given by the musical score. It is startling to watch how the director managed the almost three centuries old libretto, how many contemporary motives he was able to extract from it and accentuated by the stage action.

Gluck’s Orpheus descends to the underworld. If he will be successful in softening the hearts of the furies by his music, he can take his Eurydice back. But until they are back and free, he cannot look at her or to reveal her the reasons of his conduct. The director spared the audience the naive first plan illustrations. His Orpheus bears his hell in himself, “in the deepest bottom of the heart”. This verse from the libretto is the key to Treliński’s conception. The original aim of Gluck’s opera with the underworld, which has mercy and returns Eurydice to Orpheus, fell a sacrifice to the director’s conception. In it, there is no room for first-plan happy ends. Orpheus finds solace in his poems, weaving the sadness into verses. The creation as a therapeutic process.

If we do not count Bratislava remakes of the older productions by Peter Konwitschny, then, twenty years after the revolutionary Faust by Jozef Bednárik (Ch. Gounoud, SND Opera, 1989), the Slovak National Theatre Opera was given in Treliński’s Orpheus the first autonomous production fitting the criteria of contemporary European operatic theatre. It is modern without discouraging for its being incomprehensible or indigestible in expressive means. A film exact, emotionally authentic, visually beautiful. Made-up and fabricated, the form full of content. Justly awarded the DOSKY 2009 for Best Production in Slovakia for 2008/2009 season.
Michaela Mojžišová


directed by: Mariusz Treliński
musical preparation: Jaroslav Kyzlink
conductor: Jaroslav Kyzlink, Marián Lejava
set design: Boris Kudlička
costume designer: Magdalena Musiał
light design: Marc Heinz
chorusmaster: Pavol Procházka
choreography: Tomasz Wygoda
characters and cast: Orpheus: Pavol Remenár, Eurydice: Helena Becse Szabóová, Amor: Miriam Garajová


Mariusz Treliński (1962) is one of the most interesting Polish film, theatre and opera directors. He studied at the Film Academy in Łódź. He gained success already with his feature film debut Farewell to Autumn (1990) as well as his theatre productions – Macbeth (1996) and Adriana Lecouvreur (1997) at the Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw. He reached an international recognition mostly for his operatic productions of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (Teatr Wielki Warsaw, 1999, Washington Opera, 2001). Then it were operas King Roger (2000), Verdi’s Othello (2001) and Mozart’s Don Giovanni which was the co-production of the Warsaw Opera and Los Angeles Opera. A year later he again presented Madama Butterfly, but now at the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theatre in St. Petersburg. Then followed Giordano’s opera Andrea Chénier at the Washington Opera and the original version of Boris Godunov at the Vilnius Opera (2008). The production of Gluck’s opera Orpheus and Eurydice was created in co-operation between the Slovak National Theatre Opera in Bratislava and Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa in Warsaw. It received the DOSKY Award for Best Production of the 2008/2009 season in Slovakia.