Visual Opera

Operation : Orfeo was created in 1993 as the first production by Hotel Pro Forma to enter the big theatre-opera-music stage.
We wanted to bring our own space on to the stage, so we built a huge framed staircase so the audience can imagine the staircase to be infinite. We created a framed picture. A picture which looks like a huge TV screen. I thought about how much people like to watch TV. And I thought about the myth of Orfeo and Euridice. A myth that most people know and love. That´s why we don´t have to tell the story in detail, but can tell it by showing the three parts: Orfeo descending to Hades, the few hand gestures, don´t look back, Orfeo ascending from Hades where he must not look back but when he does he loses Euridice forever.

Orfeo´s takes us to the end of the myth where Orfeo´s body is torn to pieces by the savage women and thrown into the river, but his head keeps floating singing on the water. This was shown by a green laser light, a wave that drowns first the singers and then the audience in the auditorium. You hear a big sigh coming from the audience. This is told in an abstract visual and musical language easy to be understood by most people. This is what we worked out in 1993 as a collaboration between music, light, movement and architecture. This is what touched audiences worldwide.

Since 1993 Operation:Orfeo has toured the world. All of Europe and Scandinavia, and from the US to Australia. In Denmark it has been shown five times over many years.Peoplerememberitas“theonewiththe staircase”.They have neverforgottenit.Many people from the young generation have only seen it on video or have only heard about it. So many would like to see it LIVE. And people who saw it many years ago wish to see it again. Operation:Orfeo is a timeless piece, the language is not bound to any specific time or genre. It is a masterpiece of sense and perception. The performance is as simple as a surgical incision and as complicated as majorsurgery.

Now it is time to restage this work of art – it will be shown in Copenhagen at the Royal Theatre. In 2021 it will have been 13 years since it was last shown at Gamle Scene.

Operation:Orfeo will be restaged in Riga in August and September 2020 and will then tour in Europe, Australia and Asia.


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Conductor Kaspars Putnins

Solo singer Baiba Berke

Solo dancer Lisbeth Sonne Andersen

Vocal ensemble Latvian Radio Choir (12 singers)


Concept, direction Kirsten Dehlholm

Music, composition & arrangement Bo Holten

Music, excerpts John Cage, Christoph Willibald, Gluck

Libretto Ib Michael

Set design & light concept Maja Ravn


Costumes AnnetteMeyer

Choreography for solo dancer Anita Saij

Sound design Kristian Hverring

Dramaturgy Claus Lynge