Christoph W. Gluck (1714 −1787)

Opéra dansé choreographed by Pina Bausch

Gluck’s opera Orphée et Eurydice revolves around the tragic tale of a singer in love, a man who may have conquered Hell but who cannot overcome his own desires. It is the power of music that gives the mythical singer the magical ability to bring his lost love, Eurydice, back to life. But he cannot curb his desire and so he loses her a second time.

Pina Bausch revolutionized modern dance theatre, and her interpretation of Gluck’s opera was one of her most important projects. Her first production of Orphée et Eurydice as an “opéra dansé” dates back to 1974. She revived the production for the Opéra national de Paris in 2005. And she particularly wanted Thomas Hengelbrock and his two ensembles to work with her on it. They fan the musical flames from which the dancers draw the pulsating energy needed for their movements. Pina Bausch’s production has been revived on several subsequent occasions in Paris, and each time it has been completely sold out.


“The musical playing of this production made you hear it anew. I attended both Friday’s and Saturday’s performances and was shaken by the music each time. Thomas Hengelbrock conducted the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble: sonorities for brass and strings were electrifying.” NEW YORK TIMES

“At least as important as the stage action is the music, which Thomas Hengelbrock and his own ensemble invested with a searingly magnificent intensity that told of relentless suffering.” DIE WELT

“The production’s other trump card may be found in the orchestra pit in the form of the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock. This conductor is in a league of his own when it comes to communicating a sensual vocal quality to his instrumentalists and in that way laying at his singers’ feet the most beautiful of all treasures.” LA TERRASSE

“Excellent: the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble and Choir under Thomas Hengelbrock. Dance and music really become one and create images that continue to resonate at length in the spectator’s inner ear and eye.” OPER & TANZ


Elisabeth Kulman / Maria R. Wesseling Orphée
Svetlana Doneva / Julia Kleiter Eurydike
Hélène Guilmette / Sunhae Im Amor
Les Étoiles, les Premiers Danseurs et le Corps de Ballet Paris
Pina Bausch Choreographer, Director

Balthasar Neumann Choir
Balthasar Neumann Ensemble
Thomas Hengelbrock Musical Direction


Epidauros, Madrid, New York, Paris