Orpheus (1972) by Terje Rypdal was a work made on commission from Henie Onstad Art Centre.  Orpheus was inspired by the myth of Orpheus.

The libretto was written by the Danish writer Kaj Nissen, and had formerly been produced as an audio play by Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

Orpheus, performed using the Norwegian title Orfeus vender seg og ser på Eurydike (literally: Orpheus turns and looks at Eurydice), was the world premiere of Terje Rypdal's opera.


(Objekt ID 34256)
Object type Production
Premiere June 2, 1972
Produced by Henie Onstad Art Centre
In collaboration with The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet
Based on Orpheus by Terje Rypdal, Kaj Nissen
Audience Adults
Keywords Opera
Running period June 2, 1972  

Orpheus by Terje Rypdal was made in collaboration with The Norwegian National Opera, providing the orchestra, the dancers, the choir, the singers and technical staff.

Lars Mørch Finborud writes "The whole stage consisted of a large rounded metal cage with three gridiron arms sticking out from the middle of it. The large Tandberg sculpture was meant to illustrate the closed world of Hades with dizzying depth and classical strictness, while the audience was placed in a square amphi theatre auditorium surrounding it."


Finborud, Lars Mørch: MOT DET TOTALE MUSEUM. Henie Onstad Kunstsenter og tidsbasert kunst. 1961-2011 (literally: TOWARDS THE TOTAL MUSEUM. Henie Onstad Art Centre and time-based art. 1961-2011 [page 199], Published by Forlaget Press and Lars Mørch Finborud, Oslo, 2012

Contributors (9)
Name Role
Kaj Nissen – Libretto
Per E. Fosser – Adapted by
Per E. Fosser – Direction
Kari Blakstad – Choreography
Terje Rypdal – Composer
Arvid Fladmoe – Conductor
Odd Tandberg – Stage design
Jadwiga Koba – Singer (Eurydike)
Knut Skram – Singer (Orfeus)
Performance dates
June 2, 1972Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Henie Onstad Art Centre Worldwide premiere
Press coverage

Folke Strømholm, En hån mot norsk komponist-stand (literally: An insult against the Norwegian composer profession), June 9 1972, Verdens Gang [Oslo]:
"Would The Norwegian National Opera sign a contract with a musician for work in the opera orchestra without having gathered a certain guarantee of his playing qualities beforehand? I doubt it."