NTS | Production - OrphEus — a dance opera by Michael Parmenter

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OrphEus — a dance opera by Michael Parmenter (Auckland, New Zealand)


1 Mar 2019 - 24 Dec 2021

Short Synopsis

 OrphEus – a dance opera, a bold full-length work by Michael Parmenter with The New Zealand Dance Company premiered in Aotearoa / New Zealand's premier arts festivals, Auckland Arts Festival and NZ Festival. 

Parmenter has drawn on a ravishing musical score, including Rameau and Charpentier, reflecting a period during which the ancient Greek hero invoked a harmonious cosmos and a hierarchical political order. Since then, Orpheus has come to represent art’s power to transcend suffering and death. In this richly layered, epic dance work, Parmenter brings these contending perspectives into conflict and dialogue. OrphEus confronts the power of music and voice in both the personal and the political realms, revealing, in this familiar story of love and loss, the tensions between seduction and restraint, harmony and disorder.

Combining the power of dance, live music and theatre, Parmenter’s incredible vision is brought to life by The New Zealand Dance Company, performing alongside Grammy Award-winning American tenor Aaron Sheehan, baroque ensemble Latitude 37 and special guests*.

NZDC’s Artistic Director Shona McCullagh draws together a superlative creative team including Tracy Grant Lord, John Verryt, Nik Janiurek, Keren Chiaroni and David Downes.

*OrphEus is available with live music and singing depending on artist availability and presentation provisions for additional cast and crew.  Please refer to technical rider for further details if you wish to find out more about the live music and singing options available.

Reviews Feature

“A rich fusion of dance and song, narrative and design, music and deep emotion.” Raewyn Whyte, NZ Herald

“You can tell when a show is masterful. When it has grabbed the audience and excited them en masse. Michael Parmenter’s OrphEus is one such show. Quite simply, it’s unmissable.” Liz Gunn, 13th Floor

“It was an outstanding production with every element supporting and adding to Orpheus’ journey, old and new. This tour de force deserves a national and international audience.” Francesca Horsley, DANZ


Written By
Composed By
Directed By
Michael Parmenter
Designed By
John Verryt (Set), Tracy Grant Lord (Costume), Nik Janiurek (Lighting), David Downes (AV & Sound), Keren Chiaroni (Dramaturgy)
The New Zealand Dance Company and special guest* (*subject to availability and conditions)
Availability Status
Available at short notice


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