THE STATE Theatre in Košice is offering one of the most famous pieces of operetta, Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld (Orphée aux enfers) as its last premiere of this theatre season. The last time the theatre offered works by Offenbach was in 1984 but this is the first time Orpheus in the Underworld is being staged as a full-length evening show. A popular part of the work is its genuine can-can choreography: it was used not only to attract theatre visitors but was also offered to the media (at a press conference) and to the public at a shopping centre and the central bus station.
Czech director Lumír Olšovský told the TASR newswire that the Košice version of the opera has excellent singing combined with performers with a talent for comedy. Olšovský told TASR they prefer to call the work ‘operetta’ rather than ‘opera buffa’, the Italian term, so as not to confuse.
The conductor, Igor Dohovič from Košice, added that the operetta is catchy and can be understood by everyone while noting that its specific form makes this genre very demanding for performers, adding that in some regards it is harder for them than “serious opera”.
The cast in Košice’s Orpheus include both Slovak singers and international guests such as Anton Baculík, Jaroslav Dvorský, Oľga Bezačinská, Michaela Várady, Juraj Hollý, Peter Svetlík, Marek Gurbaľ, Marián Lukáč, Tatiana Paľovčíková, József Havasi and Jeanette Zsigová.
The operetta is in Slovak and continues throughout May and June after its May 18 premiere.