Orpheus (OHR-fee-uhs), a young singer and poet who is in love with Eurydice. At the news of his sweetheart’s death, he fills the air with his lament and vows to go to the very gates of Tartarus and, with the beauty of his music, win back his love. There, his melodies so charm Pluto that the god grants him permission to lead Eurydice back to Earth on condition that he not look back along the way. Overcome by doubts, he does look back, only to see Eurydice drawn again among the shades. Heartbroken, he is determined never to seek love again. As punishment for his scorn of love, he is torn to pieces by the Bacchantes.
Eurydice (ew-RIH-dih-see), a nymph who is loved by Orpheus and sought by him in the Underworld after her death. Given permission to follow her lover back to Earth, she is drawn again among the shades when he breaks his promise to Pluto that he will not look back along the way.
Pluto (PLEW-toh), the god of the Underworld, who is so charmed by Orpheus’ music that he grants him permission to lead Eurydice back to earth.
Proserpina (proh-SUR-peh-nah), the goddess of the Underworld and the wife of Pluto, so charmed by Orpheus’ lyre that she wishes to return Eurydice to him.
Tisiphone (teh-SIH-fuh-nee), one of the Furies. She blocks Orpheus’ way when he tries to follow Eurydice back into the Underworld.
Aristaeus (ay-ruhs-TEE-uhs), a shepherd enamored of Eurydice.
Mopsus (MOP-suhs) and
Thyrsis (THUR-sihs), shepherds and companions of Aristaeus.
Mnesillus (neh-SIH-luhs), a satyr.