In the words of Calzabigi, mighty passions at boiling point...
Gluck's most well-known is I think Orfeo Ed Eurydice, and for good reason, it is a wonderful opera with a classic story and really beautiful music. I however do find myself as of now more receptive to Iphigenie En Tauride, short but demanding, heart-rendingly moving, and very powerful to the point it is intense. And one mustn't dispute the music, which is simply sublime with a capital s. To have a performance of Iphigenie En Tauride on DVD is a dream come true, even more so when the performance is good. And that's exactly what this production is. Not everybody will be totally enamoured by the staging, but it matches the ambitions of Gluck's score very well and the idea to have the characters shadowed and the use of giant masks proved to make the opera even more moving than it already is, though understandably others will find it silly. It did strive to be a combination of music and theatre, it succeeded in my eyes. The costumes are sets are strikingly designed and advantaged by slick video directing and atmospheric lighting. I cannot fault it whatsoever musically, the orchestral playing is stylish and nuanced especially in the authentic-sounding string section, while William Christie has a clear love for the music as well as a sense of line and lyricism. The performances are wonderful. Deon Van Der Walt is an adept stylist and sings his heart out, while Anton Sharinger's voice is sonorous and characterful and Martina Janckova agile and intelligently characterised. Juliette Galstian is taxed by Iphigenie's lament, but her vocal line otherwise is crystal clear and pleasantly restrained and I found her acting very warm and sincere. The star is Rodney Gilfry, who sings beautifully with a sometimes rich, sometimes thrillingly steely tone, and has an aristocratic air that he conveys sympathetically rather than in a pompous way. The chemistry between the two alone make this production an emotionally intense experience. Overall, a really wonderful production of an equally wonderful opera. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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