An imperfect performance that does have a number of good points
Iphigenie En Aulide does deserve to be better known. Maybe Orfeo Ed Euridice and Iphigenie En Tauride are superior operas, but Iphigenie En Aulide has wonderful music, that is very characteristically Gluck, and complex story and characters. This 2002 La Scala performance is good but it is far from perfect. The two main problems are the ridiculous wigs- some of the worst I've ever seen actually- of the ladies in the chorus(Daniela Barcellona also applies here) and Stephen Mark Brown's Achille who constantly sounds pushed and unmusical and dramatically he is very stolid. Christopher Robertson is nowhere near as bad, I do think he is a convincing actor and he has a sonorous middle and bottom. The problem was his top which sounded strained and almost as if he was trying to bark out the notes. However, it is a visually beautiful production and is movingly staged. The orchestral playing is very musical and elegant, and Riccardo Muti's conducting shows a fine sense of line and an understanding for Gluck's style without being as rigid or uptight about interpolated notes and things like that like he can be. The chorus sing wonderfully. I thought most of the performances were good. Violeta Urmana does have a lovely sound to her voice and uses it very intelligently. Is she the most interesting actress ever? No, but she is at least involved in the drama, in the way Brown is not. Genia Kuhmier is a poignant Diane and the Calcante of Ildar Abdrazakov is commanding, but it is Daniela Barcellona's firmly sung and riveting Clittenestra that carries the day. In conclusion, a good but not great production. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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