Orpheus in the Underworld 


Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) School of Creative Arts and Humanities (CAH), in collaboration with OperatuNiTy, presents Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach, as part of the Darwin Festival, from 15-19 August.

The story of Orpheus and Eurydice has been made into an opera many times, but Offenbach decided to turn it into a light-hearted comedic farce with a decidedly French flavour of amorous misbehaviour and ensuing complications.

The show is packed with great tunes including the famous Galop known by many as the Can-Can, and the dialogue lends itself to unscrupulous updating. Audiences will find it spiced with local and topical humour.

Orpheus in the Underworld features staff from CAH, including artistic director, Kathy Banks, lecturer in vocal studies, who makes a cameo appearance as Orpheus’ formidable mother, Calliope. Jennifer Rivett, administrative assistant with the School, plays the part of Juno, wife of Zeus (Jupiter for short!).

Many CDU music students appear in minor principal roles, as chorus members and in the orchestra, and several students from the Centre for Youth Music Choirs appear as ‘violin pupils’ of Orpheus.

Members of the wider community are associated in many ways with this collaboration, including conductor, choral director and music teacher Digby Barrow, as musical director. Andrew Tooms appears in the title role and Vivienne Tooms is his ‘beloved’ wife, Eurydice. Greg Anderson and Brian Forester play the parts of Jupiter, King of the Gods and Pluto, King of Hades, respectively. Many others involved have lent their expertise for set design and building, technical and artistic consultation, costume design and construction, choreography and as singers and musicians.

OperatuNiTy is an exciting Darwin based performance arts group with a mission to provide opportunities for both performers and audiences to enjoy participation in fully staged performances of operettas and light operas. OperatuNiTy aims to foster an inclusive environment which promotes growth and development of local skills and talent.

Orpheus in the Underworld will be staged at Charles Darwin University Theatre, Casuarina, at 7:30pm nightly from Tuesday 15 August to Saturday 19 August 2006.

Tickets are $27 or $22 concession/child, and available from the Darwin Entertainment Centre Box Office on 8980 3333.