Cape Town Opera’s upcoming production, Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, is not the first operatic collaboration between choreographer Louisa Talbot and director Matthew Wild, but it is the first where the scale of dance and movement are on a par with the vocal and orchestral parts.
Their award-winning collaboration in the genre of musical theatre is legend. In fact, news just broke that their spectacular Kinky Boots currently playing in Cape Town has just been extended for a second time. It is therefore easy to understand the comfortable rapport they have in the rehearsal room, Talbot on the floor and Wild taking a broader view from behind the director’s desk. “Matt and I are quite willing to re-imagine anything,” she laughs.
That perhaps also explains why they were not daunted by using the CTO Chorus as dancers in the extensive dance sequences demanded by Gluck’s masterpiece.
“I want to integrate everything,” says Talbot. “I want the story to be created seamlessly by the singing, acting and dancing. We had to find the middle ground, because the sound has to be integrated.
“I am so aware that this is not a ballet; it’s an opera. I want the chorus members to be able to sing beautifully and let the movement complement and not hinder that. Not being an opera singer, it was challenging for me to watch and learn what movement they could do that would not affect their singing, but would look beautiful as a whole. Working with the chorus has been tricky and challenging, but they are willing to try anything and they have a lot of rhythm. I love people who are hungry and passionate and are willing to learn,” she says.
Cape Town Opera thanks the City of Cape Town, the Rupert Music Foundation, Arts and Culture Trust and the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport for their support of this production.