The Orpheus story has been written and rewritten numerous times over, most notably through the opera medium. More recently, Anaïs Mitchell’s musical Hadestown rewrote the famous tale once more. But Hadestown’s alterations are not unheard of, as many aspects of the popular musical can be seen in operas dating back to the 1600s. This paper analyzes previous iterations of the story via opera from the Renaissance through the Romantic era as a framework for examining the themes of Mitchell’s Hadestown. Mitchell’s interpretation opens up a dialogue on what impacts the human soul, bringing in topics such as mental health, social class, wealth, resilience, and love.
Roden, Megan (2020). Orphean Operas Impact on Anaïs Mitchell's Hadestown. Excellence in Performing Arts Research Vol. 7 7(1) 27-40. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/epar/vol7/iss1/orphean-operas-impact-anais-mitchells-hadestown
Winner of the Performing Arts Library Colloquium Series’ Honorable Mention for the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.