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“The Modern Orpheus” at Boston College Oct. 29

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (October 2011) –  An oratorio and panel discussion about a modern retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, featuring composer and librettist Boston College Sociology Professor Emeritus Severyn Bruyn, will be held at Boston College on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100.

According to Bruyn, performances of Orpheus date back to 1600. In the performance at Boston College, Eurydice, rather than Orpheus, is the hero. Eurydice, bitten by the snake of passion, goes to Hades. But when Orpheus goes to Hades, he finds her yearning to go into a higher level called the Elysian Fields. She takes Orpheus on a tour and teaches him how to find her when he dies by living the good life on earth.

Singers at the BC performance will be Erin Smith, Carey Shunskis, Peter Nelson King and Maury Eldridge. Instrumentalists will be Steve Bass, Aaron Kirschner and Peter Levine. The actors are Louise Bruyn and Alan O'Hare.

The evening will also include a panel discussion featuring Theology Professor Emeritus Robert Daly, SJ, Theology Dept. faculty member Raymond Helmick, SJ, Arts & Sciences Honors Program Adj. Associate Professor Thomas Epstein and Psychology Associate Professor Donnah Canavan.

The Orpheus legend began in ancient Greece around the 6th century BC. Orpheus fell in love and married the beautiful Eurydice. One day Eurydice was walking among tall grasses and was bitten by a poisonous snake. She died and immediately went to Hades. Orpheus vowed to Hades and bring Eurydice back. He played his lyre, hoping to convince Hades, the god of the Underworld, and his consort Persephone, to release Eurydice.

Hades was persuaded by Orpheus’ music and agrees to let Eurydice go under one condition: Eurydice was to walk out of Hades behind Orpheus. If he ever looked back at her -- she would vanish and return immediately to Hades. As they were reaching the top, Orpheus became anxious to know if she were there and he looked back. By looking back, he lost Eurydice to Hades forever.

For more information, contact Severyn Bruyn at