Philip Glass
Royal Opera House· London · May 2005

Originally intended to be a revival of the earlier site-specific production done for Copenhagen (see Orphée I), it was a challenge not only to rethink the piece with a new designer (Francisco's first chance to work with Es Devlin), but to go from a huge power station to a small studio theatre.The production was a collaboration between the Royal Opera House and ROH2 so was to be performed by te main company, in the Linbury theatre. It turned out the Linbury offered some hidden exciting possibilities,and the show ended up being the most spectacular thing one could ever imagine in a space that simple and that small. The action took place at floor, eye and ceiling levels and also under floor level. Two of the wonderful Vilar Young Artists in the cast went on to win major awards at the Cardif Singer of the World competition that same year. The technical and visual achievment made it something of a cult hit with the largely non-opera audiences.

Production Team
Set: Es Devlin
Costumes: Es Devlin and Emma Williams
Lighting: Bruno Poet
Conductor: Rory MacDonald

Ha Young Lee, Cnristopher Steele, Jared Holt, Andrew Kennedy, Katie Van Kooten, Liora Grodnikaite, Mark Richardson, Matthew Rose, Nicholas Sales, Brian Bannatyne-Scott

"Francisco Negrin's production plays its part, achieving wonders in a cramped space. Who knew the Linbury stage could perform such somersaults, the floor sinking about 20 feet for the courtroom scene from hell? Almost every trick of the stage machinery is brought into play. And if the production is inclined to be elaborately arty - well, Cocteau rather asks for that. Worth a trip to hell and back."

Richard Fairman
Financial Times
June 3 2005

"In this striking Royal Opera production by Francisco Negrin, nothing got in the way of the chic and tragic story. Es Devlin's laminated-mirror set had a positively Wagnerian splendour. A narrow diagonal platform rose hydraulically to disclose a Nibelheim-like limbo below; and the fact that the audience is perched vertiginously on both sides of the structure lends credence to Cocteau's idea of travelling through mirrors into the other world. The excellent lighting was by the well-named Bruno Poet."

The Sunday Times
May 2005

"This teasing piece manages to combine allegorical game-playing with real emotional involvement. Francisco Negrin's wonderfully clear production makes full use of Es Devlin's jaw-dropping hydraulic set. The set-pieces, such as the love duet between Orphée and Death, are full of spine-tingling, high operatic-grandeur. All the singing is impressive but Ha Young Lee is outstanding. It's only on for a few more performances: catch one."

Warwick Thompson
June 2005

"In Es Devlin's remarkable designs, imaginatively lit by Bruno Poet, the seemingly infinitely adaptable Linbury Studio takes on an entirely new configuration for this UK premiere production of Philip Glass's 1993 opera. With the audience seated on opposite sides of the proscenium arch, the central performing space rises and falls to offer a multi-layered view of events, based on Jean Cocteau's classic 1950 movie. It is a world of ambiguity and mystery, tellingly recreated in Francisco Negrin's production."

George Hall
The stage
June 2005