Rory Bremner updates Orpheus opera

...with Jordan and Rupert Murdoch

Rory Bremner has updated the Orpheus In The Underworld opera as a satire involving Jordan, Rupert Murdoch and Boris Johnson.

The comedian has translated Offenbach’s 1858 classic for a new production, which opens in Glasgow this week.

Although based on Greek mythology, the original opera – which introduced the world to the can-can – was written as a shock satire on Napoleon Bonaparte’s republic.

Bremner switched those references for more topical subjects in his new version. The first act is based around a celebrity photoshoot, the second act focuses on the Gods, modelled on politicians and bankers, and the final act is set in Hell – imagined as a pole-dancing club visited by the Gods.

On the Scottish Opera website, Bremner said: ‘When Offenbach wrote it, it was supposed to be edgy.

‘So there will be a point of view. However, the more polite, public schoolboy part of me doesn’t want to trash Offenbach. I need to look after this work, but I need to give it a new significance.

‘Are we really interested in all that stuff about gods? Perhaps not, but you can play with that and give it relevance. The gods aren’t being allowed to do something they’ve always been allowed to do, which is a current theme among the patrician upper classes. “Why does everything have to be so politically correct?” they say.’

In his version Andrew Lloyd Webber marries Jordan, while there are jokes about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, shamed MSP Tommy Sheridan and bitchy female newspaper columnists.

The show, produced by Scottish Opera Northern Ireland Opera, will open at the Citizens Theatre on Thursday, then tour Scotland and Northern Ireland, before transferring to the Young Vic in London for a two-week run. in December.

  • Bremner has also been tipped as one of the contestantson the next series of Strictly Come Dancign

Published: 4 Sep 2011

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