Chamber opera based on the work by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Three great soloists and one of the best musical ensembles in the world for an exciting new opera.

22 to 24 june 2023

If we’re going to talk about ORGIA, we should mention Pasolini who has doubtlessly made his mark on the whole play. However, a great artist like him cannot be tied down, he’s a 360º creator. Pasolini’s art is visceral while also bestowing his works with enormous philosophical and even spiritual depth. Salò or Orgia show Pasolinian thinking, just like his unforgettable film The Gospel According to Matthew (Il Vangelo secondo Matteo), that was even praised by the Vatican, which defined it as “the best film ever made on Jesus Christ”.

We’re talking about a multifaceted artist, both libertarian and deeply respectful of the Catholic faith, with a haphazard life and at the same time prone to great introspection and thinking. Pasolini. Adored and even revered by the very left-wing that mistreated him (let’s not forget that he was expelled from the Communist Party in Italy for the ‘moral indignity’ of being homosexual); and at the same time praised by sectors of the right-wing while the fascists persecuted him. Maybe, deep down, this is what it means to be free, living without dogma, true to yourself, with your own contradictions. And of course, when your work reflects all this and is exposed to public opinion, then you’re bound to be labelled…all true, all lies. Who cares really? You can be sure that Pasolini doesn’t.

Orgia is a new opera, composed by Hèctor Parra especially for this occasion, commissioned by the Arriaga Theatre in Bilbao, the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Festival de Peralada. All three are co-producers of this show with a libretto by Calixto Bieito and created for three singers and a first-class instrumental group, none other than the Ensemble Intercontemporain de Paris, the world-renowned ensemble created in 1976 by Pierre Boulez (great composer, conductor and intellectual). This ensemble already visited the Arriaga in 2000 with a concert entitled Pierre Boulez, as part of the series Doce conciertos para el 700, organised to commemorate the anniversary of the foundation of the city. Now it is a real privilege to have the Ensemble Intercontemporain for a project as special as Orgia, based on the powerful play by Pier Paolo Pasolini. And as soloists, the stage hosts the magnificent Lithuanian soprano Ausrine Stundyte and the English baritone Leigh Melrose, two figures in the current lyrical setting who have worked with Bieito before, together with another soprano, Jone Martínez, who delighted us in other productions at the Arriaga Theatre namely Vivaldi, poema para cuerda y dos voces, conducted by Bieito himself.

Based on the original text of Orgia, this opera – imagined years ago from the two operatic collaborations between Calixto Bieito and Hector Parra: Wilde (2015) and Les Bienveillantes (2019) and the adaptation of the Peralada Festival – the possibility of extracting musical poetics in a lyrical form was created. So, the Pasolinian word crystallised in sound becomes an element of inestimable value for the composer’s work: a dialogue between poetry and music that contributes – in Pasolini’s own words – to an “expressive action elevated and indefinable like the actions of reality”.

To voice his personal drama, the male protagonist in Orgia hangs himself after dressing as a woman. In fact, in the last moments of his life, he becomes aware of his homosexuality, and his suicide thus becomes an accusatory act. It is an opportunity to denounce an intolerant, hypocritical and cruel society, contemptuous of all those who depart from the established norms, thus bearing witness to the insurmountable gap that discriminates them.

Through verses imbibed with sublime poetry that overwhelmingly penetrate reality, Pasolini denounces the way in which fascism survives and annihilates all traces of humanity in modern society through consumer culture. Preceding Salò or los 120 días de Sodoma (1975) by almost ten years, in Orgia (1966) love and sex are at the service of a sadistic destruction of otherness. Inside her bedroom, an enclosed space where anguish and remorse cast monstrous shadows in the uncertain transition between the world of reason and that of sleep, the young mother co-star, having perceived in her own body a “sardonic breath of air”, sets out to fulfil her desire to break the chains that bind her to her husband. Just before committing suicide, she performs the terrible act of Medea, murdering her two children.

World premiere in Arriaga Theatre

The team

Opera based on the play Orgia, by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
World Premiere in Arriaga Theatre, 22nd y 24th of June 2023.

Music: Hèctor Parra.
Stage direction and script: Calixto Bieito.
Musical director: Pierre Bleuse.
Soloists: Ausrine Stundyte, Leigh Melrose, Jone Martínez.
Musical ensemble: Ensemble Intercontemporain (Paris).
Stage director and set designer assistant: Lucía Astigarraga.
Music Assistant director: Iker Sanchez Silva.
Illumination design: Michael Bauer.
Set design and costumes: Calixto Bieito.
Costumes making: Oscar Armendariz.
Co-production: Teatro Arriaga Antzokia, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Festival Castell Peralada.


Day 22 - 19:30h.
Day 24 - 19:00h.


From 21 to 45€ /with discounts

Friends of Arriaga:
From 25% to 35% DISCOUNT.

Groups, young people, over-65s, unemployed, large families and people with 33%+ disability:

Last minute discount (for above-mentioned groups, except Friends of Arriaga and Groups):

Last minute discount for Young Friends of Arriaga:

People with disabilities who use wheelchairs:
50% DISCOUNT (in proscenium balcony and one accompanying person)


85 min.