Visual Opera

Since 1993 Operation:Orfeo, the first production by Hotel Pro Forma to enter the large theatre-opera-music arena, has enraptured audiences across Europe, North America and Australia, always to be remembered as “the one with the staircase” and never to be forgotten.

‘"We wanted to bring our own space onto 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"- Kirsten Dehlholm.

The myth about Orpheus’ journey to the underworld is not retold in a direct way. Rather, it serves as a dramaturgical device with the classical division of the myth into three parts informing a series of images translated into a contemporary scenic language. It hints at the mythic narrative without ever illustrating it. The three parts correspond with the stages in which the events of the mythic narrative unfold: the descent, the ascent and the loss – visualised in dramatic images of light and shadow, flat surface and depth. One of the key moments is when Orfeo´s body is torn to pieces and thrown into the river, his head floating singing on the water, portrayed by a wave of green laser that drowns first the singers, then the auditorium as the audience gasps.

The libretto is a sensuous flow of words performed as symphonic a capella singing by the Latvian Radio Choir. Like a glowing poem it dives into the fluid, colourful and shady underworld of the ocean to re-emerge at the Roof of the World in the middle of a death cult being performed.

Operation:Orfeo will be restaged in Riga in September 2020 and will begin its new touring cycle in February 2021. 



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  • 2021-06-02 00:00:00 2021-06-05 00:00:00 - Skuepilhuset, Det Kongelige Teater, Copenhagen - Denmark
  • 2021-02-11 00:00:00 2021-02-11 00:00:00 - The Concert Hall Aarhus, Aarhus - Denmark


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