New England Premiere of ‘Eurydice’ Includes New Arrangement From Boston-Born Composer

Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) presents a new production of composer Matthew Aucoin and librettist Sarah Ruhl’s opera Eurydice – a retelling of the Orpheus myth from Eurydice’s viewpoint – directed by Doug Fitch and conducted by Aucoin. BLO, with Opera Grand Rapids, has co-commissioned a new, more intimate orchestral arrangement from Aucoin that premieres here. Sydney Mancasola (far r.) and Elliot Madore (r.) perform the roles of Eurydice and Orpheus. 

Eurydice runs for five performances over two weeks, from March 1 to March 10, 2024, at the Huntington Theatre. 

Both Ruhl and Aucoin are recipients of the MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship.  Aucoin was born and raised in Boston. His 2015 opera, Crossing, was premiered in the city by American Repertory Theater. 

Ruhl’s libretto for Eurydice is adapted from her 2003 play of the same name. In both, she challenges the traditional myth of Orpheus and the Underworld by giving voice and prominence to a character often relegated to the background. Ruhl has said, “in the myth, we never hear from Eurydice – she is always a cipher. I’m interested in her voice, a voice that hasn’t been heard before.”

BLO General Director & CEO Bradley Vernatter praises both Ruhl’s writing and Aucoin’s music, saying “I fell in love with Sarah’s poetic adaptation…so much so that a line from the libretto (‘All I have I give for love’) anchors our season materials. Matt’s score is stunning, and I was convinced it would shine for a chamber ensemble.” 

Cast and Creative Teams

In addition to Mancasola and Madore, the cast for Eurydice includes: Mark S. Doss as Father (a character Ruhl created in part to honor her own father, who died when she was 20 years old); Nicholas Kelliher as Orpheus Double; David Portillo as Hades, Maggie Finnegan as Little Stone/Ensemble; Alexis Peart as Big Stone/Ensemble; Neal Ferreira as Loud Stone/Ensemble; and Junhan Choi as Ensemble.

In addition to directing the production, Doug Fitch will design sets and costumes. Lighting design for Eurydice is by Jorge Arroyo.

Plot Synopsis

When Eurydice opens, Orpheus and Eurydice are playing on the beach. Orpheus proposes and Eurydice accepts. Meanwhile, Eurydice’s father, who resides in the Underworld, writes a letter to his daughter but has no way to get it to her in the “real world.” He drops the letter on the ground, where Hades finds it. 

On her wedding day, Eurydice leaves the party and laments not knowing more interesting people. Hades appears as a mysterious man who says he has a letter from her father and invites Eurydice to his high-rise apartment to read it. A deadly accident sends her to the Underworld, where a dip in the river of forgetfulness erases her memories. With the help of her father, Eurydice regains the details of her life. 

Above ground, Orpheus mourns Eurydice’s loss and resolves to bring her back from the Underworld. He confronts Hades, who agrees to let Eurydice go but sets a condition: Orpheus must lead her out of the Underworld without looking back. The opera concludes with a heart-wrenching sequence, showcasing consequences of love, loss, and the pursuit of a second chance.

The Production

Fitch’s production moves the “real world” portion of the story to a hyper-stylized beachside location with palm trees. The Eurydice and Orpheus characters are inspired by hipster/nerd/musician culture. Eurydice’s father sits lonely in his Underworld room, rumpled, dusty and dreaming of the daughter he left in the real world. Hades’s persona is alternately scary, funny and protean…brazenly macho yet able to access his feminine side. The underworld is a desolate but richly textured location, accessed by a winding iridescent river and a mysterious rain-filled elevator, all leading to the gates of Hell.


Tickets for Eurydice start at $33 and are available now through the BLO website at, by reaching BLO Audience Services at 617.542.6772, or via email at [email protected].

Matthew Aucoin’s residency is made possible by Katie and Paul Buttenwieser.  The commission of EURYDICE is supported in part by a gift from Pat and Bill O’Connor.

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