Darkness prevails in ‘Iphignie en Tauride’

by C. I. Roman. 0 Comments

"Iphignie en Tauride" is an opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck in four acts. The libretto was written by Nicolas-Francois Guillard. The drama performed in French with English subtitles is ultimately based on the play "Iphigenia in Tauris" by the ancient Greek dramatist Euripides. It tells a classic story of the Trojan War in an alternative version. Here Agamemnons daughter Iphignie is not sacrificed by her father in order to secure favorable winds for his armys journey to Troy, but is at the last moment spared and taken by the gods to faraway Tauride.

In the opera, Iphignie, high priestess of Taurus, is tormented by dreams of her family's bloody past and intimations of violence in the future. Will she accede to the barbaric King Thoas' demands and murder her own brother?Can she survive in this world of bloodshed and fear? Gluck's masterpiece, Iphignie en Tauride, with its sweeping score anddramatic story is enjoying a renaissance at most major opera houses around the world. The operas Iphignie, haunted and mournful 15 years later, is a good fit for soprano Patricia Racette. She starts off singing with floating richness, emanating tenderness and sorrow in arias with the quiet eloquence of prayer, and gains power and authority as the opera moves forward. Her deeply sympathetic portrayal fits this production.

World-renowned tenor Plcido Domingo sings the part of Oreste, Iphignies long-lost brother who is condemned to death. His voice, immediately recognizable, is truly a gift for all to experience.

The director and designers avoided the neo-Classicism of Glucks epoch in favor of a somber dark style which seems to me more authentically pagan. In a decaying temple, torches flicker, and rich reds smolder with the black costumes of the chorus, adding effectively to the mood of tragedy.

Although Glucks music is absolutely beautiful, whether the opera will make a place for itself in the admiration of the public is something that I personally question, but dont let me influence you, judge for yourself.


Carmen Ileana Romn writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com

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