In September I performed as Eurydice in the opera Orpheus at the Everyman Theatre directed by John O’Brien. His last project was winner of the Best Opera Production in the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2012. This dynamic new production re-interpreted Gluck’s Orfeo ed Eurydice for a contemporary audience.
On the 25th of September at lunchtime I got a call asking if I could replace Tara Brandel the injured leading dancer in the opera. I had three hours to learn, rehearse and then perform the role of Eurydice to a packed theatre. It was an extreme experience and very rewarding at the same time. I could not have done it without the overwhelming support and kindness of the cast and crew.
It was such a thrill to perform on the Everyman stage with so many talented and professional artists. In all I performed the remaining four nights of the production. Every night we received a standing ovation, both humbling and heartwarming.
Being part of a big production is something I look forward to as a freelance contemporary dancer. It was liberating to be able to explore acting as well as dance. It was an exhilarating experience to transmit a story through movement within the conventions of an opera. To be able to use my experience not only technically, but from a more visceral perspective than usual gave me a lot to work with. A lot of this freedom came from John’s ability to push and experiment with conventions.
I’m always interested in collaborating with musicians and this was the perfect opportunity. Usually the role of Eurydice is played by an opera singer but in this case John chose to work with a dancer. I had the chance to duet with the inspirational musician Carolyn Goodwin. On stage we collaborated in creating the character of Eurydice.
It was a powerful experience to be lifted by the energy and professionalism of the chorus, soloists and actor-musicians during the performances. Both Ronald and Majella, true stars showed me the way!