a Masque for baritone voice, dancers and chamber ensemble
  • Title Orpheus
  • Year 2003
  • Instr fl/picc, cl/bcl, vln, vc, pf, perc, hp, baritone solo & dancers (optional)
  • Duration 25 min
  • Categories Vocal, Chamber (8 or more)
  • Publisher CF Peters
  • Texts Stanley Kunitz

Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition for the Earplay Ensemble of San Francisco.

First Performance:
Earplay, Dominic Inferrera, baritone, Mary Chun, conductor
Angela Jones, choreographer and dancer, L. Jonathan Collins, dancer
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Jan. 12, 2004


ORPHEUS: Angela Jones, Eurydice; L. Jonathan Collins, Orpheus; The Washington Square Ensemble, Dominic Inferrera, baritone, Louis Karchin, conductor; Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, NYC, March 25, 2004.


Karchin´s 25-minute score was the dramatic heart of the piece. The music seemed In constant flux, creating strong, richly textured sonorities for strings and woodwinds, lustrous chords for piano, harp and vibraphone, and artfully-deployed sounds from the percussion, which added fullness and interjected brilliant splashes of color; this Orpheus floated on an incandescent fabric of sound. Dominic Inferrera sang with intelligence and ringing clarity; his brightly focused voice and crisp, clean diction were a pleasure to hear. Meanwhile choreographer Angela Jones was holding our attention with a series of boldly realized dance episodes. She was paired with L. Jonathan Collins as the anguished and distraught Orpheus. Their duets were beautiful to watch, and affecting in their portrayal of the doomed lovers´ plight.

Jules Langert, San Francisco Classical Voice (01/2004)

“While it would be wonderful to see this performed with the choreography, Karchin´s vivid scoring allows the listener to imagine quite a dance unfolding. Poet Stanley Kunitz´s take on the Orpheus story, In the Dark House, which serves as the piece´s text, is a touching and surprisingly fresh rendering of the millennia-old tale.”

Christian Carey, Splendid Reviews

“Ten best” list of 2005

Alex Ross, therestisnoise.com



Angela Jones, Dominic Inferrera, L. Jonathan Collins and Karchin.

Marc Chagall's Orpheus.

Dominic Inferrera