Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Worthen, Douglas


This thesis presents the myth of Orpheus through each century of opera. Beginning with Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in 1607, followed by Christoph Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Jacques Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers, Philip Glass’s Orphée, and finally, Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice in 2001. Through the analysis of plot changes, gender characteristics, and the symbolism of these five operas, the elements that have made Orpheus one of the most prominent figures in opera will be explored.




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