1982 - L'Orféo

Monteverdi / Striggio / J.L. Tavan / Emmanuel Genvrin

First performed on July 3rd 1982 on the car-park of the Rontaunay building, Saint Denis. Opéra : Monteverdi - Libretto : Alexandre Striggio - Musical director : Jean-Louis Tavan - Production and stage design : Emmanuel Genvrin Sets : Joël Boyer

"After the success of Marie Dessembre, the Reunionese centre for cultural action (CRAC) and Jean-Louis Tavan of the Cantare choir suggested that we stage these extensive Monteverdi excerpts. I chose a place in the open air, the car-park of the Rontaunay building in Saint Denis, with its enormous drab wall. I created hand-held masks for the singers. For the first night, the sky was menacing : we had to buy clothes pegs in order to fasten the scores. I had to stand in for the light engineer of the Crac at a moment’s notice as he was on sick leave !" The performances at Le Tampon were excellent. At the time the press spoke of a "renewal" of Indian Ocean opera. It was rather premature because after Orfeo I was never solicited ! It was only in 2003 that I entered into contact with Jean-Louis Tavan : Cantare provided the choir for Maraina, the Indian Ocean’s first opera creation, this time at our own initiative.» E. Genvrin

The play

Orpheus falls in love with the nymph Eurydice who dies from a snakebite. Orpheus goes to the underworld to search for her. His music moves the gods who agree to a pact : he can return to the upper world with Eurydice behind him if he accepts to not look back.


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First performed on July 3rd 1982 on the car-park of the Rontaunay building, Saint Denis, then performed at Le Tampon theatre. 4 performances, total audience 3000.

what the press think

"La truculence de Genvrin et la jeunesse de Monteverdi. C’est à guichets fermés qu’à été donnée samedi la première représentation de l’Orféo de Monteverdi." Hubert Bruyère [Le Quotidien de La Réunion]

Genvrin’s truculence and Monteverdi’s youth. On Saturday the first performance - fully booked - of Monteverdi’s Orfeo was held."
Hubert Bruyère [Le Quotidien de La Réunion]

"By using simple but expressive movements, by using the effect of mass and contrasts, Emmanuel Genvrin creates living tableaux in the scenic space."

"Vollard’s actors really breathe new life into this opera : they really make it come alive. 100 chorists, a breath-taking entrance, and the whole thing seems amazingly short, an opera where nobody was yawning, a successful union between two of our best artistic groups : Vollard and Cantare, just for one show."
Alain Bled [Le Quotidien]

"When Monteverdi was dying, a French vessel, the Saint Louis, was making for Reunion to take possession of it. Three hundred and fifty years later, the composer lives again, thanks to Orfeo, in a Saint Denis parking lot."
Jean-Pierre Juan [Le Journal de l’île]

press articles

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Lansiv (F. Arquetout), mars 1984 Pour une renaissance de l’art lyrique à La Réunion
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Temoignages, (F.A.), juin 1982
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Le Quotidien (H.Bruyere), juillet 1982
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JIR (JP.Juan), juillet 1982
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Le Quotidien (A.Bled), juillet 1982


  • Orpheus : John Elves
  • Eurydice : Agnès Bellon
  • Death : Jean-Luc Trulès
  • And : Frédérique Cheynet, Marie-Hélène Dormeuil, Françoise Jean-Jacques, Maryse Lauret, Olivier Mayolle, Nathalie Manciet, Madeleine Sitalaprésad, Olivette Taombe, Augustine Touzet,
  • The 58 singers of the choir Cantare and the Saqueboutiers orchestra of Toulouse



  • Joël Boyer et l’équipe technique du Crac.


  • Madeleine Sitalaprésad, Marie-Hélène Dormeuil.


  • Emmanuel Genvrin.
©Théâtre Vollard 1980-2007 | Mentions légales