Mark DeChiazza and Steve Mackey build their fourth and most ambitious collaboration--an amalgam of live music, film, and dance.  The electric guitar sings the part of Orpheus in this contemporary take on the hero's journey to the underworld.  Pushing the popular rock vernacular of electric guitar and percussion to something stranger, Orpheus Unsung takes on the myth with a wordless musical and visual language. 


The premiere of Orpheus Unsung, co-produced by Liquid Music, of Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Guthrie Theater, premiered June 2016 at Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Development of the work was made possible by a Baryshnikov Art Center Space Grant, an on-stage residency at Carleton College, and the Princeton University David A Garner '69 Magic Grant.

A volatile mix of music, imagery and dance takes on operatic form in Orpheus Unsung, composed by Steven Mackey with Jason Treuting. Mackey and Treuting and an ensemble of three dancers perform in a production conceived and directed by Mark DeChiazza. Orpheus Unsung casts the electric guitar as the disembodied voice of Orpheus, who seeks to reverse fate and regain an irrevocably lost Eurydice. The myth of Orpheus in the underworld is shattered and ultimately re-made within a space that hangs in teetering balance between solidity and hallucinatory illusion. In this wordless opera, a language fusing music, dance, and imagery, breaks open an ancient story to discover something strange and new.


Concept, Films, Direction: Mark DeChiazza      

Music: Steven Mackey with Jason Treuting

Choreography: Mark DeChiazza with Sara Gurevich, Denisa Musilova, and Navarra Novy-Williams

Performers:  Steven Mackey (Guitar) 

                    Jason Treuting (Percussion)

                    Sara Gurevich

                    Denisa Musilova

                    Navarra Novy-Williams

Set and Projections: Bryce Cutler

Lighting: Mary Ellen Stebbins

Costumes: Sylvianne Shurman

Cinematography: Mark Andrew

Assistant Director: Elyssa Dole

Film Performers: Nicholas Bruder, Troy Ogilvie

Early-Stage Choreographic Contributors: Kristin Clotfelter, Elyssa Dole

(full video, tech rider and fee information for Orpheus Unsung available on request)


Excerpt from Orpheus Unsung, performed at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts.

Music video for 'Stalactites' from Orpheus Unsung