West Edge Presents Orfeo ed Euridice with a Small Correction

West Edge Opera presents a new interpretation of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. As perhaps a small correction to our male dominated art form, the opera will be conducted, directed, choreographed, designed and performed by women an non-binary artists. KJ Dahlaw makes their debut with West Edge, leading the production as both director and choreographer. Soprano Christine Brandes takes on the musical direction as she begins a new career as a conductor. Presented as a love story between two women, Orfeo will be performed by mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz who last was with West Edge in the role of The Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen. Her lover Euridice will be sung by Soprano Maria Valdes, while Soprano Shawnette Sulker sings the role of Amore. Orfeo ed Euridice will be performed in Italian with English surtitles.

“Once we had decided to program Gluck’s Orfeo & Euridice,” says West Edge’s General Director Mark Streshinsky, “we began talking about how we wanted to present the opera—the decision to cast a mezzo instead of a countertenor meant all principal parts would be sung by women, which lead to the idea to produce the production with women at the helm. All the on-stage performers, the director/choreographer, conductor and designers would be women. We also decided that if the director we chose was interested, we would be open to the character of Orfeo being a woman and the love story being a queer one.”

Performances take place Sunday, August 4 at 3:00 p.m., Friday, August 9 at 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, August 17 at 8:30 p.m., at The Bridge Yard, 210 Burma Rd, Oakland. For tickets and more information about this production, visit https://www.westedgeopera.org/2019/orfeo

Written by Jonathan Harris
San Francisco Early Music Society