Elodie Lauten's Orfreo
- Although I can't sing a note I've been involved with opera for 25
years. I edited and published a libretto of Carlo Goldoni translated
by W.H. Auden. The composer Elodie Lauten had set some of my poetry
to music. Finally she asked me to write a libretto about a female
Orpheus. I tried.
Unfortunately the opera director Jason Buzas told me there had been
over 200 operas written about Orpheus. Was Eurydice to be a man? A
Lesbian? I tussled and tussled until I finally thought of Ray
Johnson. Orpheus had invented music; Ray had invented "correspondance
(sic) art." Ray was gay and had committed suicide in the Age of
AIDS. I was working with Gregory Corso's Italianate spelling of
Orpheus, Orfeo. One day I heard a new word : OrphRAYo. Orfeo plus
Ray equals Orfreo.
And so I wrote the libretto, with Elodie as dramaturge. It was
produced by Elaine Comparone at Merkin Hall. And they made a film.
And now the film's sound has been newly enhanced, and the film will
be screened: 5:30-6:00pm Saturday November 4 at New York Studio
Gallery 511 W. 25th Street, #607.
Come and say hello.