The river Evros is the southeastern border of the EU. Where once Orpheus’ head was floating - after he had alighted from the underworld and his body was torn apart by the maenads. Now he is returning to the European border as an unfortunate people’s smuggler. And the path into Europe turns into the path to the realm of the dead. This smuggler’s opera concentrates on a figure which nowadays is mainly referred to as criminal whereas in times of the Cold War was a hero as escape agent. The smuggler Orpheus is a kind of modern service provider, who defends his business and at the same time insists on the fact that this commercial aspect of his work in no way contradicts the higher principle of love.
The theatre collective andcompany&Co. translates its characteristic mix of discursive and documentary texts into a musical structure borrowing elements from Monteverdi’s und Gluck’s operas on the Orfeo myth. The result is a dense musical score that takes the audience onto a journey through the history of migration. This journey through the mythical as well as the real world is being accompanied by ‘beautiful singing’ – indispensable as Orpheus‘ weapon – it is the key to the border crossing.
Starting in 2014 andcompany and their artistic collaborators from Belgium, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands devised a music theatre piece which leaves genre borders behind: baroque opera meets electronic sounds, arias meet slogans, and antique myths meet the latest news. First produced as a theatre piece, andcompany&Co. then further developed it into a radio play which was selected ‘radio play of the month’ by the German Academy of Performing Arts (Deutsche Akademie der Darstellenden Künste) in April 2015. The jury concludes that ‘Orpheus (…) combines clear political analysis with artistic mastership’. The radio play is also nominated for the Karl-SczukaAward and as submission to Prix Europa.
Commissioned by the Festival Belluard Bollwerk in 2015, andcompany&Co. adapted the radio play for the stage and created a minimalistic concert-like setting where ancient mythology stretches to tell us about intolerable realities in the 21st century. The setting consists of 4 musicians (recorder, cello, spinet, electronics) framing 4 speakers and 2 opera singers (baritone and counter tenor), sitting in a semi-circle in front of the audience. The curtains open for the spectator's mental cinema.