orpheus at the bode museum

by Sirje

The other night we were really glad we’d decided to go check out a production of Haydn’s Orpheus at the Bode Museum here in Berlin.

First we were given a really good tour of particular works related to love and death in this REALLY lovely museum, which was recently renovated. Each room represents a distinct period or area, and there are plenty of works that you look at and think “oh hey that looks exactly like that famous– oh wait” Then you back up nervously and hope your garlic breath didn’t just peel another century off the varnish.

The production takes place on a long kind of raised runway installed in a gallery of the museum. At one end is the orchestra, which played gorgeously (they were one of the stars of the evening for sure), and at the other end was the entrance where the dancers and singers came and went. There was a little tree towards the end of the runway by the orchestra, which housed a bird that actually flew. They used some really good effects, lighting, etc.

The whole effect was really charming, and I really liked the choices they’d made– costumes were simple, flowing shades of white, hair was great, choreography was really cool, and the dancers were excellent. (I didn’t understand at all why the nymphs/dancers didn’t get a huge applause at the end! They really deserved it.)

The singers were all really dedicated and each had their own special something. All very pretty voices, which were chosen, I guessed, particularly because of how they resonated within that beautiful little gallery space. (Of course my friend the baritone sounded great as always.) The orchestra played absolutely beautifully, really really really well, just wonderfully, and the conductor was excellent at keeping the whole show together. I mean, let’s hope so. Right? But he did a fantastic job despite the very tricky set up – because of the limitations of the space, he had to face either the orchestra OR the dancers and singers – so it was truly impressive.

The biggest star of the evening, however, was definitely the dancer playing Death. Wow. Amazing dancer, absolutely stole every scene he was in. And he’s not hard to watch if you know what I mean. Above is a screen shot from the production’s own website.

Unfortunately, the show is now over, so you won’t be able to see it if you’re in Berlin. I’ve no idea whether they’ll add more performances, but it seems to have been hugely popular — tickets were tough to get because everything was sold out — so maybe you’ll be in luck. Tickets are pricey but I definitely recommend checking it out.