The Orphic Moment by Matthew Aucoin (Harvard ’12) takes a freeze-frame look at the moment before Orpheus turns fatefully to look at Eurydice. In Harbison’s Symphony No. 5, the Orpheus myth is reflected in vivid poetry of Milosz, Glück, and Rilke, the eponymous hero’s lute represented by an electric guitar. With a libretto by Cocteau based on Sophocles, Stravinsky’s monumental and chilling opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex is a throbbing musical engine of fate.
“No matter the tessituras, no matter the pianissimos or fortissimos, Jon Jurgens’ tenor vividly emotionalized the starring role in Igor Stravinsky’s neo-classic “still life,” Oedipus Rex. Sharing those qualities in the role of mother, Michelle Trainor engendered a Jocasta that will also not soon be forgotten. Tenderness dissolving into aches with one admission of sin after another all spelled out in touching tones of the remarkable tenor Jurgens. Defending her son, then her husband, Trainor’s Jocasta soared into an unmistakable orbit of true maternal instincts. Singing in her deep soprano register terrified, while elsewhere her confutations of the oracle’s capability of telling the truth intensified in higher voice; it seemed no one could have been better cast.”
~David Patterson, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 2/24/18