Operettas / Musicals

Orpheus in the Underworld

Golden evening where music surpasses all Eurovision hits!

Approx. running time 2 h 45 min, one intermission

Operetta by Jacques Offenbach

Libretto by Hector Crémieux’ and Ludovic Halévy

World premiere on October 21, 1858 in Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens

Premiere in the Estonian National Opera on September 30, 2022

In Estonian with subtitles in Estonian and English

Offenbach’s rhythmic and imaginative music, with songs that could nowadays beat every Eurovision hit, the wittiness and excellent punch lines of the libretto written by Hector Crémieux and Ludovic Halévy, and the chance of giving an enjoyable spectacle to the audience are the reasons why the operetta “Orpheus in the Underworld” should be staged again and again.

Who is this Orpheus, and why should I care what he did or did not do in the underworld, or how he ended up there in the first place? Then again, the underworld is a fascinating and unusual place, and none of the spectators have ever been there. Why not show a musical and playful version of this sinful place to the audience, whereas they do not need to be afraid of being thrown into a boiling cauldron.

The story itself is simple and only a little bit supernatural: the mythical Orpheus who charmed everyone with his singing and lyre-playing, has become a violin professor who – oh no! – loses his wife Eurydice by accident and goes to the gods to demand her back. Only that in Offenbach’s opera, he does not go voluntarily, as he actually wants to get rid of the woman; also, she has been having an affair with a neighbour, who later turns out to be Pluton, the ruler of the underworld, so Eurydice is happy to die so that she could be with him. Orpheus is forced to embark on the heroic journey to the underworld by a character called the Public Opinion who ensures that both the myth and moral rules are being followed. Before descending to the underworld, they seek for Eurydice at Jupiter’s, which is when the king of the gods finds out about his younger brother’s conquests and starts to desire the woman himself. Eurydice has nothing against the higher-ranking deity either. However, in the end, both of them lose out and the woman ends up with Bacchus, the god of wine, which she does not seem to mind either. Nobody else seems to be bothered about it, since it is time for the timelessly cheerful cancan that everybody dances to, including the Public Opinion.

Stage Director Liis Kolle

Recommended age 12 +


Orpheus, violin teacher: Oliver Kuusik, Heldur Harry Põlda
Eurydike, his wife: Elina Nechayeva, Kristel Pärtna
Aristaios/Pluto, god of the underworld: Reigo Tamm, Mati Turi
Public Opinion: Juuli Lill, Annaliisa Pillak
Cupido, naughty god of love: Carol Männamets, Kadri Nirgi, Janne Ševtšenko
Venus, goddess of love: Helen Lokuta, Karis Trass
Diana, goddess of fertility and the hunt: Kadri Kõrvek, Heli Veskus
Jupiter, king of the gods: Rauno Elp, Tamar Nugis
Mercurius, god of commerce and prosperity: Aare Kodasma, René Soom
Minerva, goddess of wisdom and arts: Merit Kraav, Maria Leppoja
John Styx, servant of Pluto: Mart Madiste, Mehis Tiits
Juno, queen of gods, Jupiter' s wife: Triin Ella, Aule Urb
Mars, god of war: Tambet Kikas, Mart Laur

Estonian National Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Extras.

Music Director

Arvo Volmer

Stage Director

Liis Kolle


Kaspar Mänd

Jaan Ots

Costume Designer

Reili Evart

Set Designer

Jaagup Roomet


Rene Liivamägi


Dmitri Harchenko

Chorus Master

Heli Jürgenson

Assistant to the Chorus Master

Ksenija Grabova


07. June 2024 19:00

Show times


07. June 2024 19:00


12. June 2024 19:00


21. June 2024 19:00


17. April 2025 19:00


29. April 2025 19:00


04. May 2025 15:00 .


18. May 2025 15:00


24. May 2025 19:00