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The bummer Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydicehas been retold musically several times, from Alexander Zhurbin’s Soviet rock opera to the 1959 Brazilian film Black Orpheus, set during Carnaval in Rio and responsible for introducing bossa nova to the world. A more modest interpretation, with just three cast members, will kick off a weeklong performance series by UrbanArias—a new local opera company dedicated to contemporary works sung in English, all under 90 minutes long. In composer Ricky Ian Gordon’s version, Orpheus is a clarinetist, and the snakebite that sends Eurydice to Hades is replaced by HIV. The festival continues with Gordon’s AIDS elegy Green Sneakers and Glory Denied, a Vietnam-era drama.
UrbanArias performs at 7:30 p.m. (also 6:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday) at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Rosslyn. $22. (888) 841-2787.