Orpheus and Eurydice are unhappily married, so she is delighted to die and go to
the Underworld with Pluto. When Public Opinion demands that Orpheus rescue her, he seeks the assistance of Jupiter, who is having his own trouble with rebellious gods who are bored of Mt. Olympus. Everyone soon decides to go down to Hades to have fun.

Spoofing both mythology and humanity, Offenbach’s smash-hit operetta contains mortals in love, gods in disguise, lively tunes, and a very famous can-can. Welcome spring with this joyful comedy!

Orpheus in the Underworld

Friday, April 29 at 8 pm
Sunday, May 1 at 2:30 pm
Overture Hall

Sung in English with projected text

approx. run time: 2 hours 10 minutes, including one intermission

Face masks are required at the performances.
Read about our health and safety policies here.

Orpheus in the Underworld

Music by Jacques Offenbach
Libretto by Ludovic Halévy and Hector Crémieux
English translation by Jeremy Sams

Premiered 21 October 1858
Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris, France

Madison Opera premiere

First Tableau:  On Earth

Public Opinion explains her role:  she is the guardian of good behavior. She has plenty on her plate, because Eurydice cannot stand her husband, Orpheus, much less his music. Each quarrel ends in Orpheus demonstrating his violin virtuosity, and Eurydice would rather die than stay with such a boring man. Her wish comes true when she meets her beloved Aristaeus, a shepherd who is in fact Pluto, Lord of the Underworld. With the unwitting help of Orpheus, he has arranged Eurydice’s death. As she dies, she writes a quick farewell note to her husband before being whisked off to Hades. Orpheus comes home to find Eurydice gone and rejoices in his good fortune.  Public Opinion intervenes: If he does not plead with Jupiter to give him back his kidnapped wife, she will see that he is discredited with all his students. Orpheus grudgingly gives in and sets off for Mt. Olympus.

Second Tableau:  On Mt. Olympus

The gods are sleeping. Diana arrives and tells of the tragic loss of her beloved Acteon, and Jupiter reveals that he transformed the young man into a stag. Outraged at his interference, she and the other gods declare their boredom with life on Olympus. Mercury arrives to announce the kidnapping of Eurydice and the arrival on Olympus of Pluto. Happy to divert attention to someone else, Jupiter welcomes the Lord of the Underworld and questions him about Eurydice, whom Pluto denies abducting. Their quarrel is interrupted by a rebellion of the gods, who angrily remind Jupiter of all of his escapades on earth. When Mercury announces that a mortal is seeking an audience, Jupiter restores calm among the gods. Orpheus enters with Public Opinion and half-heartedly sues for the return of Eurydice. Jupiter decides to accompany Pluto down to Hades to investigate. The gods plead with Jupiter to allow them to go with him, and everyone sets off for hell.

~ intermission ~

Third Tableau:  In Pluto’s Boudoir

Eurydice is disappointed. She had imagined a life of constant orgies in Hades, and instead finds herself under house arrest, guarded by John Styx, who claims to have been the King of Beotia. A noise leads Styx to lock Eurydice in an adjoining room. When Jupiter and Pluto appear, everything seems to be in good order, but the eagle-eyed Jupiter spots where Eurydice is imprisoned. After Pluto leaves, Cupid appears and transforms Jupiter into a fly, so he can get into Eurydice’s room. The disguised Jupiter successfully entices Eurydice. When he reveals his true identity, she is quite ready to follow him to the ends of the world, and they make plans to escape during Pluto’s party for the gods.

Fourth Tableau:  A Hall in the Underworld

Pluto’s party is at its height. Eurydice, disguised as a bacchante, is enjoying herself even more than the rest. But her plans with Jupiter are slow to materialize, as Pluto stops them from leaving and reminds Jupiter of his promise to give Eurydice back to Orpheus. Fearing the wrath of Public Opinion, Jupiter restores an unwilling Eurydice to a no-less-miffed Orpheus, but adds a condition: Orpheus must not look at Eurydice while they are making their way out of Hades. The unhappy mortal couple leave the party.  Jupiter sends a clap of thunder, which frightens Orpheus and makes him turn around. Eurydice and Orpheus are happily free of each other, and Public Opinion admits defeat. To avoid further disputes with Pluto, Jupiter makes Eurydice into a bacchante, as the party carries on, even merrier than before.




Habersham, Jasmine 2022
Jasmine Habersham

Madison Opera Stage Debut
Recently with MO:  Digital Opera in the Park 2020; Digital 20/21 Season
Recently: Gilda, Rigoletto (Opera North – UK); Zerlina, Don Giovanni (Seattle Opera); Cleopatra, Giulio Cesare; Micaela, Carmen; Girl, Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Atlanta Opera); Adina, The Elixir of Love (Phoenicia International Festival of Voice); Katie Jackson, The Fix (Minnesota Opera); Pip, Moby Dick (Opera San José, Utah Opera)
Upcoming: Mimi, Tenor Overboard; Mary, Holy Ground (Glimmerglass Festival); Sarah Ruth, Edward Tulane (Minnesota Opera); Sophie, Werther (Houston Grand Opera); Gilda, Rigoletto (Utah Opera)

Christian Sanders

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Wilbur, Finding Wright (Dayton Opera); Tobias, Sweeney Todd; Timothy Laughlin, Fellow Travelers (Des Moines Metro Opera); Bégearss, The Ghosts of Versailles (Château de Versailles Spectacles, Glimmerglass Festival); Bill, Flight; Gaston, La Traviata; Prunier, La Rondine; Charles Swede Risberg, The Fix (Minnesota Opera); Tony, West Side Story (Glimmerglass Festival); Jonathan Dale, Silent Night (Minnesota Opera, Glimmerglass Festival)

Upcoming: Monostatos, The Magic Flute (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis); Prince/Rat/Doll Shop Father, Edward Tulane (Minnesota Opera)

Vu_Brian 4x5
Brian Vu

Madison Opera Debut
Timothy Laughlin, Fellow Travelers (Opera Columbus); Manrico, Il Trovatore (Opera in the Heights); Soldier, Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Atlanta Opera); Count Almaviva, The Marriage of Figaro (Kentucky Opera); Waiter, Der Rosenkavalier (Metropolitan Opera); Riff, West Side Story (Houston Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Festival); Schaunard, La Bohème; 2nd Apprentice, Wozzeck (Des Moines Metro Opera); Alcée, Sapho (Washington Concert Opera)
Upcoming: Man, QUANDO (Long Beach Opera/Heartbeat Opera); Bryce, Edward Tulane (Minnesota Opera)

Craig Verm

Madison Opera Debut: Friedrich Bhaer, Little Women (2016)
Recently: Doug Hanson, Everest; Lt. Gordon, Silent Night (Austin Opera); Riolobo, Florencia en el Amazonas; Marcello, La Bohème; Father, Hansel and Gretel (Pittsburgh Opera); Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni (Dallas Opera, Pittsburgh Opera); Haly, The Italian Girl in Algiers (Santa Fe Opera); Claudio, Beatrice and Benedict; Guglielmo, Così fan tutte (Seattle Opera); Billy Budd, Billy Budd (Des Moines Metro Opera)
Upcoming: Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni (Charleston Opera Theater); Ping, Turandot (Opera Colorado)

Semerdjian, Laurel headshot_Cropped
Laurel Semerdjian
Public Opinion

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Marianna, Il Signor Bruschino (Sarasota Opera); Bradamente, Alcina; Suzuki, Madama Butterfly (Pittsburgh Opera); Carmen, La Tragédie de Carmen (Florentine Opera); Morgiana, Ali Babà (Summer Garden Opera); Dorabella, Così fan tutte (Inland Northwest Opera); Benazir Bhutto workshop of Bhutto (Beth Morrison Projects)
Upcoming: Genevieve, Pelléas et Mélisande (Opera Southwest)

Gillian Hollis

Madison Opera Debut: Sister Lillianne, Dead Man Walking (2014)
Recently: Kathie, The Student Prince (Grand Rapids Opera); Mabel, The Pirates of Penzance (Opera North); Cinderella, Cinderella; Flexibella, Super Storm! (Opera for the Young); The Queen of the Night, The Magic Flute; Madeline/Isabel, The Face on the Barroom Floor (Central City Opera); Berta, The Barber of Seville; Barbarina, The Marriage of Figaro (Cleveland Opera Theater); Zémire, Zémire et Azor (Skylight Music Theater)
Upcoming: Adina, The Elixir of Love (Mobile Opera)

Secor, Emily - Wordfly
Emily Secor

Madison Opera Debut: Mrs. Nordstrom, A Little Night Music (2019)
Recently at MO: Digital 20/21 Season, Miss Lightfoot, Fellow Travelers; Annina, La Traviata; 1st Wood Sprite, Rusalka
Recently: Soloist, A Madison Symphony Christmas (Madison Symphony Orchestra); Gretel, Hansel and Gretel; Nightingale/Country Lass, The Enchanted Child (University of Northern Iowa)
Upcoming: Beyond the Score: Mahler, Symphony No. 4, (Madison Symphony Orchestra)

Robert A. Goderich
John Styx

Madison Opera Debut: Amelia’s Servant, A Masked Ball (2012)
Recently with MO:  Headwaiter, She Loves Me; Digital 20/21 Season; Beppe, Pagliacci; 1st Priest / Armored Man, The Magic Flute; Spalanzani, The Tales of Hoffmann; Pirelli, Sweeney Todd 
Recently:  Beadle Bamford, Sweeney Todd (Middleton Players Theater); Pirelli, Sweeney Todd (Skylight Music Theater); Albin, La Cage aux Folles (Music Theater of Madison)

Byrd Tyrese
Tyrese Byrd

Madison Opera Studio Artist
Madison Opera Debut: Normanno, Lucia di Lammermoor (2021)
Recently at MO:  Keller, She Loves Me
Recently: Jesse, Undying Love (Hearing in Color); Don Basilio, Bliss (Michigan Opera Theatre); Herr Vogelsang, The Impresario; Miles (cover), Proving Up (Univ. of Michigan SMTD); Le Prince Charmant, Cendrillon; Arpad, She Loves Me (Furman University Lyric Theatre)
Upcoming: Policeman 1/Congregant 1, Blue (Toledo Opera)

Kirsten Lippart

Madison Opera Debut: Lola, Cavalleria Rusticana (2018)
Recently at MO: Digital 20/21 Season; Flora, La Traviata; Mrs. Segstrom, A Little Night Music; 3rd Wood Sprite, Rusalka
Recently: Alto Soloist, Handel’s Messiah (Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra); Sarah, Sarah Bernhardt (Stoughton Chamber Music Festival); Babette, Beauty and the Beast; Johanna, Sweeney Todd (Middleton Players Theatre); Prince Orlofsky, Die Fledermaus (Madison Savoyards)

Anja Pustaver
Anja Pustaver

Madison Opera Studio Artist
Madison Opera Debut:
Ensemble, She Loves Me (2022)
Despina, Così fan tutte; Poppea, L’incoronazione di Poppea (UW Madison Opera); Mrs. Hayes, Susannah (Janiec Opera Company); Amy March, Little Women (Harrower Summer Opera)

Emily Glick

Madison Opera Debut: Petra, A Little Night Music (2019)
Recently at MO:  Ilona Ritter, She Loves Me; Digital 20/21 Season
Recently: Rona, The Amateurs (Forward Theatre Company); Demeter, Hephaestus (Music Theatre of Madison); Mrs. Bucket, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Children’s Theatre of Madison); Rose, A Shayna Maidel; Mary Boyle, Juno (TimeLine Theatre Company); Quintet, Sweeney Todd  (Paramount Theatre); Colette, La Cage aux Folles; Marie, The Nutcracker (Marriott Theatre); Clara, The Yiddisher Teddy Bears (The Public Theatre)

Surzyn Jake
Jake Surzyn

Madison Opera Studio Artist
Madison Opera Debut

Recently: Mr. Rockefeller, Frida; Antonio, Bliss (Michigan Opera Theatre); Father, Cinderella (Opera for the Young); Marcello, La Bohème (Opera North); Mr. Johannes “Pa” Zegner, Proving Up (University Michigan)
Upcoming: Vicomte Cascada, The Merry Widow; Herr Zegler, The Sound of Music (Charlottesville Opera)

John DeMain

Madison Opera Debut: The Magic Flute (1995)
Recently at MO: She Loves Me, Digital Opera in the Park 2020, Fellow Travelers, La Traviata, Rusalka
Recently: Blue (Glimmerglass Festival); Candide (Gran Teatre de Liceu); Porgy and Bess (Seattle Opera); Lost in the Stars (Washington National Opera)

Stephanie Havey
Stage Director

Madison Opera Debut 
Recently: Carmen (Arizona Opera); The Barber of Seville (Finger Lakes Opera), La Traviata (Arizona Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre); L’Enfant et les Sortilègés
(Philadelphia Orchestra); Norma (Boston Lyric Opera); La Bohème; Florencia en el Amazonas (Pittsburgh Opera); The Crucible (Opera Santa Barbara); Tosca (Festival de Belle-Île)

Upcoming: As One (Atlanta Opera); Tosca (Arizona Opera); Rigoletto (Utah Opera); Madama Butterfly (Opera de Montreal)

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