If some of the audience finds what they see hard to swallow, they need only shut their eyes to immerse themselves in the sumptuous music and memorable singing, in particular the soft, seductive voice of Michael Slattery as Orfeo. From the start, Orfeo plays sexual games with his Eurydice, forcing her against a wall and penetrating her behind a sofa. When she dies, she is chained to the same wall with duct tape, pinned like a butterfly, as her husband mellifluously pines, barely separated from her in hell by a flimsy length of tape, like a police line.
In this production, it is Mr. Slattery as Orfeo whose desperate plight engages the emotions, and in his anguished, sensual singing, pumping away with his feet to Monteverdi's plaintive beat, he sets the tone for a dazzling, daring production that will linger in the memory. Mr. Alden shows what can be done to meld the ancient and the modern in the sort of fresh, youthful production that provides a welcome and overdue antidote to the tired and workaday ideas of traditional opera directors...