Ensemble Parallèle: Small Company Stages Big Production in Orphée at Herbst Theatre

Marnie Breckenridge

Much like love, Ensemble Parallèle's production of the Philip Glass opera Orphée was a many-splendored thing. Not only did the production feature the usual operatic suspects (vocals, instrumental music, set, and costume design), but the audience at Herbst Theatre this weekend was also treated to elements drawn from film, visual art, and the circus. It's perhaps not so remarkable that a single production should combine all of these disciplines, given the opera's genesis in the Jean Cocteau film of the same name. What is remarkable is that any company — particularly one as modestly sized as Ensemble Parallèle, which is staging but two operas and a handful of smaller events this year — should handle such an ambitious, multifaceted work so well.

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