Preview: The University of Portsmouth Dramatic and Musical Society: Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld

The sparkling comic operetta “Orpheus in the Underworld” comes to the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth in February 2020. First performed in 1858, it’s Offenbach’s most performed work.

His satirical all-singing, all-dancing work concludes with one of the most famous pieces of music in the world, the ‘Galop infernal’ or the Can-can.

The University of Portsmouth DMS now has the benefit of a version that is true to the original. Musical Director Colin Jagger explains.

“I’ve put on one show per year since I joined the University in 2000, including “Orpheus” in 2005. This version had been extensively re-written and re-arranged, and so I was very dissatisfied with the results.”

“In 2011 I produced a new version of “Yeomen of the Guard” following extensive research of the original manuscripts. Like “Orpheus”, it had been re-written and re-arranged. This new version, published by Oxford University Press, is much closer to the original than any other version.”

“Now having had lots of experience of this process, I have applied the same approach to “Orpheus”. I’ve got hold of an original version and set it to a new translation by Ian Gledhill, working hard to preserve the nuances of the original text and stay close to the original orchestration. I’m very pleased with the results.”

Colin’s work is freely available from

Read a profile of Colin here.

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