Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

Queerguru’s Andrew Hebden reviews ‘Orfeas2021’ a queer Greek Sci Fi Opera @ Wicked Queer Film Fest



If only there was a Greek word for a marathon, it would perfectly sum up this ambitious, expansive, and demanding futuristic opera that sets the struggle for gay rights against the weight of Greek history. It is based on the original opera L’Orfeo by Monteverdi.


Orfeas (Georgios Iatrou), the new Prime Minister, is preparing to marry his male lover Euri (Antonis Stamopoulis). The toadies that surround people in power wax eloquently as to how this is a new age of enlightenment that people will joyously accept. It is a triumph of reason. The preparations are interrupted by more radical progressives who argue that many people are still being left behind so it’s not the right time to claim victory. Reactionary trolls, meanwhile, are heaping homophobic abuse on the whole event. The arrangements grind to a despairing halt when news reaches them that Euri has been murdered. Whether it is by the extreme right, a Muslim terrorist or just an ordinary person with a grudge is left unanswered.


Orfeas is unable to accept this horror and commits to rescuing Euri from the underworld, or in this story the Museum of Supernatural History. He argues his case to the Spirit, the dedicated defender of Greece’s memories, claiming he has the right to enter because radical new ideas are the perfect seed for the most memorable times.  On his journey he finds support in the form of OXI, a deity who admires the bravery with which Orfeas fought his way to the top of politics without abandoning either convictions or love. Oxi’s arguments are persuasive to the Queen Hellas but Orfeas is only permitted to claim back Euri if he abandons the idea of a wedding and agrees to keep their love hidden. 


Despite inventive, and often joyously wacky, visuals the heart of this piece is traditional opera. Fussily baroque harpsichords embrace hearty baritones. If you don’t enjoy opera, then no amount of rewriting of traditional stories in a queer context is going to overcome that. However, if the melodrama and the music appeal to you this has much to offer in terms of mythic scope, and contemporary political debate. Straight unions have hogged plenty of the ethereal spotlight that opera creates. Orfeas takes some of it back. 

PS Orfeas2021 is screening at Boston’s Wicked Queer’ Film Festival 




Queerguru Contributing Editor ANDREW HEBDEN is a MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES graduate spending his career between London, Beijing, and NYC as an expert in media and social trends. As part of the expanding minimalist FIRE movement, he recently returned to the UK and lives in Soho. He devotes as much time as possible to the movies, theatre, and the gym. His favorite thing is to try something (anything) new every day.

Posted by queerguru  at  18:25


Genres:  down right weird, international

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