LA Opera's exciting 2019-2020 season continues on with the world premiere of Eurydice, composed by Matthew Aucoin. Prior to opening night this weekend, we spoke with famed soprano Danielle de Niese, who stars as the title character.
Danielle de Niese as Eurydice (with Kevin Ray, Raehann Bryce-Davis, and Stacey Davis as the Three Stones) in an early rehearsal. Photography by Cory Weaver courtesy of LA Opera
You’re starring as the title character in LA Opera’s highly anticipated world premiere opera Eurydice. What drew you to this role?
DN: I already performed Euridice in Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” at the Met, and amazingly I even walked down the aisle to marry my husband to Gluck’s “Torna, o bella, al tuo consorte” which is a beautiful heavenly piece. so Eurydice has been in and around my life. I always saw her as someone who loved wholeheartedly and clearly so adored and treasured, inspiring Orpheus’s jeopardous journey to get her back. It felt like the perfect fit to bring even more flesh and richness to this character- to create more about who she was, to finally give her a proactive voice rather than the (beautiful) reactive voice she has in the Gluck [interpretation] - this felt so right for me.
Eurydice updates Greek mythology for the modern age with a tale told from the heroine's point of view. What do you think will excite opera-goers about Eurydice?
DN: In our time, there has been an opening of ourselves to other perspectives which has led to more acceptance of ourselves and of those who are different from us in society. With so many ground shaking status-quo-breaking movements, I feel like this period will surely be known historically as the age of empowerment. Eurydice is definitely a piece of its time in the way it gives our tragic heroine agency, an active voice in her own life story. The story sheds so much light on a character we thought we know and in doing that empowers eurydice. I can’t help but feel that it's an operatic version of the prequel and sequel to the great Orpheus myth. it gives great depth and a rich backstory to many of the myths unanswered questions.
You’ve performed all over the world, from the Royal Opera House to the Metropolitan Opera - what is like to come back to Los Angeles for this performance?
DN: Of course the big draw for me is returning to my beloved hometown and company, the company where i made my operatic debut at 15 in the lead role of Miranda in Journey to Cordoba. All of my dreams were nurtured in Los Angeles - it’s the place my parents, brother and I call home. I started here starring in a world premiere and am now returning with a world premiere — it’s so beautiful to come full circle.
What do you hope opera-goers take away from Eurydice?
I hope they remember that love reveals itself in many different ways.. and that the journey towards that understanding is never over.
Eurydice opens February 1st and runs through February 23rd, for more information and to purchase tickets visit https://www.laopera.org/performances/201920-season/eurydice/
Photography by: Photography courtesy of LA Opera