Orphée aux Enfers
Orphée aux Enfers, Offenbach's riotous parody of the dissipations of French life in the Second Empire, fairly gallops past in this 1997 Herbert Wernicke production staged at the Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels. Based on Offenbach's meatier second version (1874) of the Orpheus legend, it features nicely judged performances across the board and some stunning special effects, notably the explosive locomotive crash signalling the breach of the divide between Heaven and Hell. Satire reigns, not least in the reactionary figure of Public Opinion, a pinny-clad bossy boots with a hint of Dame Edna Everage about her. Olympus is a moribund salon full of bored Gods, sick of the Ambrosian diet.