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The Met: Live in HD tells the tale of ‘Eurydice’

Dan Webster

Above: The Met: Live in HD presentation of the opera “Eurydice” will screen on Sunday and Wednesday. (Photo/Fathom Events)

If you’re at all familiar with Greek mythology, you know who Eurydice is.

Wife of the musician Orpheus, she died when she stepped on a viper. The fact that she was fleeing a minor god named Aristaeus at the time fits perfectly with the feckless way that the gods of that day treated mere mortals.

Yet Orpheus’ love for his wife was so great that he used his musical talents to – in at least one version of the story – convince the gods, especially Hades, to let him retrieve Eurydice from the underworld and bring her back to the land of the living.

Ah, but there was a catch. Orpheus was ordered not to look back at his love until they had made it all the way into the light – which he could not bring himself to do. So back she went. End of story.

That’s the basic plot of composer Matthew Aucoin’s opera “Eurydice,” which is The Met: Live in HD featured presentation, which will screen at two area Regal theaters – Northtown Mall and Coeur d’Alene’s RIveerstone Stadium – on Saturday and Wednesday.

Saturday’s screening will be at 9:55 a.m., while Wednesday’s will be at 1 p.m. (with a second screening at Northtown set for 6:30).

While Aucoin composed the music, Sarah Ruhl wrote the libretto, while the work was conducted by Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin

New York magazine critic Justin Davidson, who reviewed a live staging of the opera in November, wrote, “(I)t’s a good day in the opera world when a company in need of fresh invention finds a composer with vocal music in his bones. Aucoin’s command of the genre is dazzling.”

Sounds like his command is almost as dazzling as that of Orpheus himself.

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