Touted as a [[RockOpera "folk opera"]], ''Hadestown'' is a musical and ([[AdaptationDistillation more famously]]) a ConceptAlbum written and produced by Anais Mitchell. It's a retelling of the [[OrpheanRescue Orpheus myth]] set in a post-apocalyptic world that mimics TheGreatDepression in the United States. Originally performed as a small-scale stage musical in Vermont, Mitchell extensively revised the work for the 2010 recording, which received critical acclaim. The album version has since been performed live at various locations, including New York and Virginia.
''Hadestown'' opens above-ground, with [[TheIngenue Eurydice]] worrying about how her lover [[TenorBoy Orpheus]] will provide for her in this poverty-stricken post-apocalyptic world. They arrive at an old train depot, where [[MinimalistCast everyone’s]] talking about [[TitleDrop Hadestown]], a walled city under the ground. [[ManipulativeBastard Hades]], the enigmatic king of Hadestown, comes calling for Eurydice when Orpheus is gone and seduces her to the wealth and security of his underworld. With directions from [[MrExposition Hermes]], Orpheus follows Eurydice underground.
Meanwhile, in Hadestown, Hades indoctrinates his worker-citizens, but when he turns his back, his wife [[SilkHidingSteel Persephone]] subverts his efforts by plying her contraband from the outside world in a hidden speakeasy. She takes an interest in the newly arrived Orpheus. Eurydice, unaware that her lover is near, laments her decision to follow Hades. Orpheus moves toward her, but is intercepted by the Fates, who tell him struggling is pointless. Orpheus challenges the Fates, and shortly thereafter Hades discovers both Orpheus and the speakeasy.
In the royal bedroom, [[BrokenBird Persephone]] appeals to her husband on Orpheus’s behalf. Orpheus, too, [[NotSoDifferent appeals to Hades]], and his singing starts a riot in Hadestown. Desperate, Hades comes up with a plan: Orpheus can have Eurydice back if he can walk out of the underworld ahead of her without turning around to make sure she’s there. Orpheus and Eurydice begin their ascent, but when Orpheus reaches the surface, he immediately turns around. Since Eurydice is still in the underworld, she becomes permanently trapped there, and Orpheus is left to WalkTheEarth alone.
The album stars Mitchell as Eurydice, Justin Vernon (of BonIver) as Orpheus, AniDiFranco as Persephone, Greg Brown as Hades, Ben Knox Miller (of The Low Anthem) as Hermes, and the Haden Triplets as the Fates.
!! This opera provides examples of:
* AdaptationDistillation: The album is a revision/adaptation of a small-scale stage musical (also by Anais Mitchell) that had two runs in Vermont.
* AllThereInTheManual: To fully understand the setting and plot, you need to read the history and libretto on [[http://hadestown.anaismitchell.com/ the official website]].
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: ''Hadestown'' encourages the listener to question whether the characters are innocent or at fault for what happens to them, especially in the case of Eurydice.
* BadSamaritan: Hades.
* BassoProfundo: Greg Brown as Hades. His voice has been described as "subterranean."
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Eurydice wanted to "lie down forever."
* BigBad: Hades.
* BreakTheCutie: What poverty and starvation, plus Hades, does to Eurydice.
* BrokenBird: Persephone.
* BSODSong: "Flowers (Eurydice's Song)" for Eurydice. "If It's True" and "Doubt Comes In" for Orpheus. "His Kiss, The Riot" for Hades.
* CabinFever: In "Our Lady of the Underground."
-->'''Persephone:''' Six feet under getting under your skin/Cabin fever is a-setting in
* CallAndResponseSong: "Why We Build The Wall."
* CounterpointDuet: "How Long."
* CrowdSong: "Why We Build The Wall."
* DarkestHour: "Doubt Comes In."
* DealWithTheDevil: Orpheus makes one with Hades, as in the original myth.
* DestructiveRomance: Hades and Persephone, touched upon in "How Long."
* DroneOfDread: At the end of "Doubt Comes In," there is a painfully long note when Orpheus looks back at Eurydice too early, breaking his DealWithTheDevil.
* EmpireWithADarkSecret: Hades' wall isn't keeping out any enemy...
* EvilSoundsDeep: Oh, yes.
* FinalLoveDuet: "Doubt Comes In."
* ForegoneConclusion: Assuming you're at all familiar with Greek mythology, you can pretty much guess how this one ends.
* GriefSong: Inverted with "I Raise My Cup to Him," as Persephone and Eurydice sing a "reverse elegy" for Orpheus, who escaped Hadestown but now must WalkTheEarth alone.
* GutturalGrowler: Greg Brown as Hades.
* HeartbeatSoundtrack[=/=]PlayingTheHeartStrings: "Doubt Comes In."
* IWillFindYou: Orpheus to Eurydice in "Wait For Me."
* TheIngenue: Eurydice.
* LetsDuet: Many of the songs -- "Wedding Day," "Hey Little Songbird," "Wait For Me," "How Long," "Doubt Comes In," and "I Raise My Cup To Him."
* LoveAtFirstSight: "Epic (Part Two)": Hades fell in love with Persephone the moment he saw her in Demeter's garden.
* ManipulativeBastard: Hades.
* MassiveMultiplayerEnsembleNumber: "Way Down Hadestown," through and through.
* MelismaticVocals: Anais Mitchell as Eurydice, particularly in "Flowers (Eurydice's Song)."
* MinimalistCast: There's Eurydice, Orpheus, Persephone, Hades, Hermes, and the Fates.
* MoodDissonance: "When The Chips Are Down" is a fatalistic but very jaunty and catchy song.
* MrExposition: Hermes's main function.
* NotSoDifferent: In a heroic example, Orpheus to Hades in "Epic (Part Two)."
** Hades, about Orpheus, from "His Kiss, The Riot," though he is recognizing the similarity to Orpheus in himself rather than persuading Orpheus of their similarities.
-->'''Hades:''' Nothing makes a man so bold/As a woman's smile and a hand to hold/But all alone his blood runs thin/And doubt comes-- [Hesitant DramaticPause] doubt comes in.
* SelfBackingVocalist: Justin Vernon as Orpheus (see VoiceOfTheLegion).
* ShameIfSomethingHappened: "Hey Little Songbird."
-->'''Hades:''' Always a pity for one so pretty and young/When poverty comes to clip your wings/And knock the wind right out of your lungs/Hey, nobody sings on empty.
* SilkHidingSteel: Persephone.
* TheSongBeforeTheStorm: "His Kiss, The Riot".
* SopranoAndGravel: Eurydice and Hades in "Hey Little Songbird."
* StarCrossedLovers: Orpheus and Eurydice.
* SympathyForTheDevil: Persephone in "How Long," about both Orpheus and Hades.
* TenorBoy: Orpheus.
* VillainLoveSong: "Hey Little Songbird," in which Hades seduces Eurydice.
* VillainousLament: "How Long," in which a surprisingly vulnerable Hades shows bitter regret not for his villainous deeds, but for the [[DestructiveRomance dysfunctional nature]] of his marriage. What's tragic is that both Hades and Persephone seem to truly love each other even as that damaged love pains and tortures them.
* VoiceOfTheLegion: Orpheus, to indicate his divine musical talent.
* WeddingDay: "Wedding Song," natch.
* WhatYouAreInTheDark: In "Hey Little Songbird," Hades tempts Eurydice. The Fates also use this in "When The Chips Are Down."
* WideEyedIdealist: Eurydice and Orpheus both have elements of this at the start. "Epic, Part Two" and "How Long?" imply that Persephone used to be this, too.
* WomenAreWiser: Eurydice in "Wedding Song," voicing her concerns for Orpheus's monetary situation. Subverted thereafter, as Eurydice's concerns and her overall innocence lead to her seduction and subsequent imprisonment by Hades.
* WretchedHive: Hadestown.
-->'''Hermes:''' Either get to hell or to Hadestown/Ain't no difference any more!