Jarred Dewey: an acrobat leaps into Opera Queensland

Orpheus & Eurydice opera queensland
Image: Iñaki Zaldua

Opera Queensland’s concluding production for the year, Orpheus & Eurydice, integrates circus performers into the action.  QNews spoke with one of the principal artists, Jarred Dewey.

The story 

Eurydice has died and her husband, Orpheus, is distraught. The god of Love, Amor appears and gives him a chance to retrieve his wife from the depths of Hades under the strict understanding he must not look at her before they have returned home.

Orpheus ventures into the underworld, where he charms his way past the guarding Furies (demons) with his song and finds Eurydice. He attempts to lead her home only to succumb to temptation, looks back at her and loses her again. However, Amor appears again and grants Eurydice’s life.

The circus performers   

The acrobats are extensions of Orpheus and Eurydice. We are parts of Orpheus’ fractured mind, the furies and the memory of Eurydice. Throughout the show we use group acrobatics, aerial slings, tumbling and tissue to help convey the story in a physical sense.

opera queensland orpheus & Eurydice and
Opera Queensland’s Orpheus & Eurydice. Image: Iñaki Zaldua

The music

I actually love all of the music, especially when it’s played live right in front of you. Working with a 16 piece chorus, a whole orchestra and the virtuosic talents of Owen Willetts (Orpheus) and Natalie Christie Peluso (Eurydice), it’s an unbelievable feeling on stage.

Have you had much familiarity with classical music in your life? 

I am by no means a classical music buff but I have always been interested in classical music.

There is something so satisfying about gritty acrobatics and classical music that just works on some strange level.

I don’t know a word of Italian, but after learning the text and story this whole opera just opened up for.  (Audiences can follow the story in English surtitles.) Now I can really appreciate it on an emotional and musical level. I have such deep respect for the music and the musicians. It’s inspiring to work with such a powerful story.

Would people who haven’t seen opera before enjoy this Opera Queensland production?  

I think this is the perfect show to check out if you haven’t seen opera before.

The story is fascinating. Yaron Lifschitz (the director) has brought an interpretation of the story that is fresh and provocative, but also the unique collaboration between opera and circus is exciting. The show is deep, rich, beautiful and tragic. Even people familiar with this opera can expect surprises.

Opera Queensland’s Orpheus & Eurydice

24 October-9 November

Playhouse, QPAC


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