Introducing Video of the Week from Wales Arts Review. We’ll be showcasing some of the best new art in Wales with a new video shared every week. From music to drama and everything in between, videos will not be limited by medium. This week’s video is a short film from director Mathilde Lopez, who as part of Welsh National Opera’s Rearrange project has reimagined ‘Tu Se Morta’ from Monteverdi’s Orfeo.
For its Rearrange project, Welsh National Opera tasked four directors with putting a modern spin on arias from some of the world’s most famous operas. The first film released in the series is Mathilde Lopez’s take on ‘Tu Se Morta’ from Orfeo, Claudio Monteverdi’s 17th century operatic telling of the ancient Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice. In traditional performances of the opera, the ‘Tu Se Morta’ (You Are Dead) aria marks the titular character’s discovery of the death of his beloved Eurydice, and his vow to bring his wife back from the underworld.
In Lopez’s short film, Orfeo, portrayed by award-winning tenor and composer Tom Randle, has learnt of the death of his wife the morning after their wedding. Facemask juxtaposing his wedding suit, Orfeo wanders urban streets, passes PPE-clad hospital staff, and is closely followed by his keyboard-wielding best man – played by WNO conductor Frederick Brown. A truly contemporary interpretation that sensitively references the bereavement that so many families have experienced during the pandemic, the film closes with Orfeo walking through woodland and eventually disappearing under the dark arch of a railway bridge.
While it is at first alien to Monteverdi’s telling of the Greek legend, Lopez’s film reflects the deeper themes of Orfeo – namely grief, powerlessness, and the innate human desire to not let go of the people we lose. Commenting, the director said: “It has been immensely gratifying to delve in and out of Monteverdi’s Orfeo. Like Orfeo, we all have been deeply stunned, hit by an unbelievable level of sadness, enraged by our powerlessness and we too have tried anything to carry on believing. And we are still doing it.”
‘Tu Se Morta’, the first of four short films that will make up Welsh National Opera’s Rearrange project, is available on YouTube. Keep up with the latest from Welsh National Opera on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.