The Metropolitan Opera HD Live: Season 5, Episode 7

Gluck: Iphigénie en Tauride (26 Feb. 2011)

TV Episode  -  Music
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Iphigenie, banished daughter of Klytemnaestra, is now high priestess to Diana. Two strangers from Greece wash up on shore; when Iphigenie recognizes one as her brother, Orestes, she is ... See full summary »

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Title: Gluck: Iphigénie en Tauride (26 Feb 2011)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Susan Graham ...
...
Oreste
Paul Groves ...
Pylade
Gordon Hawkins ...
Thoas
Julie Boulianne ...
Diane
Lei Xu ...
First Priestess
Cecelia Hall ...
Second Priestess
David Won ...
Scythian Minister
Jacqueline Antaramian ...
Clytemnestre
Rob Besserer ...
Patrick Summers ...
Himself - Conductor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Metropolitan Opera Ballet ...
Dancers
Diana Damrau ...
Herself - Comtesse Adèle from 'Le Comte Ory'
Natalie Dessay ...
Herself - Host
Joyce DiDonato ...
Herself - Isolier from 'Le Comte Ory'
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Storyline

Iphigenie, banished daughter of Klytemnaestra, is now high priestess to Diana. Two strangers from Greece wash up on shore; when Iphigenie recognizes one as her brother, Orestes, she is powerless to stop his execution. Cue the goddess Diana. Written by dnitzer

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Release Date:

26 February 2011 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Soundtracks

Venez amis, retirons-nous
(from "Le Comte Ory")
Music by Gioachino Rossini
Performed by Juan Diego Flórez
Conducted by Jesús López Cobos
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User Reviews

Pushing their Gluck
21 April 2012 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

I really enjoyed the Met's 2008 production of Orfeo ed Euridice but, despite the best efforts of Director Stephen Wadsworth, I felt that this production of Iphigénie en Tauride was a Gluck too far.

I have seen three other Gluck operas and they all end with a Deus ex Machina. This must be the Ancient Greek version of winning the lottery. Just as you think that your life is a disaster, a god descends, sorts out all your problems and everyone lives happily ever after. We do not often see Euripides' dramas on stage these days and I, for one, find his plots, when transposed to the operatic stage, rather hard to swallow. Maybe this is just my problem. I love opera but it is not until the 20th century that something like humanist opera starts to appear. Prior to that most operatic characters behave as though their every action is being watched over or controlled by God or alternatively, the Gods.

The ingenious set splits the stage in two. Three quarters of the stage is the Temple of Diana in a riot of red and orange. The other quarter is an inner chamber in subdued blue light. Characters move freely from one part to the other, thus avoiding unnecessary scene changes. This opera is a sequel to Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide. This production starts with a sort of Previously on Iphigénie…We see a dumbshow of the ending of the earlier opera with Agamemnon killing his daughter watched by his wife Clytemnestra. Iphigénie is now a priestess on Tauride and it is her job to sacrifice any strangers. Her brother Oreste and his friend Pylade are shipwrecked and Iphiénie spends the rest of the opera trying to avoid sacrificing them before Diana comes to her rescue.

There are two good tenor roles for Plácido Domingo and Paul Groves as the shipwrecked friends. I enjoyed Domingo's Le Calme Rentre Mon Coeur which is sung softly with a frenzied orchestral line. Susan Graham is Iphigénie and I particularly enjoyed her aria O Malheureuse Iphigénie. The orchestra sparkles under Conductor Patrick Summers in an opera where the orchestral accompaniment is often more interesting than the vocal line. The opera comes in at under two hours but it seems much longer than that.


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