Gluck’s Iphigenia in Aulis and Iphigenia in Tauris at the 2024 Aix-en-Provence Festival

Gluck’s Iphigenia in Aulis and Iphigenia in Tauris at the 2024 Aix-en-Provence Festival
Gluck’s Iphigenia in Aulis and Iphigenia in Tauris at the 2024 Aix-en-Provence Festival

Christoph Willibald von Gluck – François-Louis Gand Le Bland known as Bailli du Roullet / after Euripides and Jean Racine,

Iphigenia in Aulis

Tragedy-Opera in three acts created on April 19, 1774 at the Royal Academy of Music, Salle des Tuileries, in Paris.

Christoph Willibald von Gluck – Nicolas François Guillard / after Euripides and Claude Guimond de La Touche,

Iphigenia in Tauris

Tragedy set to music in four acts premiered on May 18, 1779 at the Royal Academy of Music, Salle des Tuileries, in Paris.

Operas recorded by France Musique on July 5, 2024 at the Grand Théâtre de Provence, during the 76th edition of the Aix-en-Provence Festival, and offered to member radio stations of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) as part of the Euroradio exchanges. New production of the Festival of Aix-en-Provence. In co-production with the Greek National Opera and the Paris National Opera.

With the generous support of Aline Foriel-Destezet, exceptional Major Donor of the Aix-en-Provence Festival.
And the support of the Etel Adnan Circle for the Mediterranean

Cast of Iphigénie en Aulis and Iphigénie en Tauride at the 2024 Aix Festival:

Emmanuelle Haïm: Musical direction

Dmitri Tcherniakov: Direction and scenography

Richard Wilberforce: Choirmaster
The Concert of Astrée: Choir and Orchestra

Elena Zaytseva : Costumes
Gleb Filshtinsky  : Lumière
Tatiana Werestchagina: Dramaturgy

Iphigenia in Aulis.

Corinne Winters: Iphigenia, Soprano
Russell Braun  : Agamemnon, Basse
Veronica People: Clytemnestra, Soprano
Alasdair Kent: Achilles, Tenor
Nicolas Cavallier : Calchas, Basse
Soula Parassidis* : Diane, Soprano
Lukáš Zeman: Patroclus, Baritone
Tomasz Kumięga* : Arcas, Baritone

Iphigenia in Tauris.

Corinne Winters: Iphigenia, Soprano
Florian Sempey: Orestes, Baritone
Stanislas de Barbeyrac : Pylade, Tenor
Alexandre Duhamel  : Thoas, Baryton
Soula Parassidis* : Diane, Soprano
Tomasz Kumięga*: A Minister of the Sanctuary / A Scythian, Baritone
Laura Jarrell: A Priestess, Mezzo-soprano

* former and former artists of the Aix-en-Provence Festival Academy

Arte video

Iphigenia in Aulis and Iphigenia in Tauris on Arte.TV
available from July 11, 2024.

Intermission.

Christoph Willibald von Gluck / arrangement Fritz Kreisler,

Orpheus and Eurydice :
Ballet of happy shadows, “Melody of Orpheus”

Jascha Heifetz: violin
Emanuel Bay : Piano
Jade 6998922

  • Interview with Emmanuelle Haïm.

Jean-Philippe Rameau,

Dardanus :
The Descent of Venus (Act IV Sc 1)

The Concert of Astrée
Emmanuelle Haïm: Musical direction
Erato (Virgin Classics) 50999 956502 2 7

Jean-Philippe Rameau,

Naïs, RCT 49 :
Opening

The Concert of Astrée
Emmanuelle Haïm: Musical direction
Erato 0190296278426

Reference work on Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride:

The Avant-Scène Opera: Iphigenia in Tauris by Gluck
n° 62

Libretto of Iphigenia in Aulis.

Musicopolis Listen later

Lecture listen 25 min

As if you were there Listen later

Lecture listen 29 min

Argument of Gluck’s Iphigenia in Aulis:

Translation by Alexander Bondarev.

Act I. The troops are ready for a dazzling and victorious military campaign.

To ensure his good fortune, the leader of the campaign, Agamemnon, is given the insane injunction to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. Agamemnon is faced with a terrible choice: preserve his daughter’s life or retain his power and influence over his troops.

Agamemnon devises a ruse to prevent his daughter from going to Aulis for her imminent marriage to Achilles. He has her announce the false news of her fiancé’s betrayal and Achilles’ supposed refusal to marry her. Iphigenia will therefore not arrive at Aulis and thus avoid death.

Calchas pronounces before everyone his divination about the sacrifice, which he and Agamemnon have kept secret until now. However, at Agamemnon’s request, he does not publicly name the victim.

Agamemnon’s ruse regarding Achilles’ fictitious betrayal is ineffective and, accompanied by her mother Clytemnestra, the unsuspecting Iphigenia arrives at Aulis for the wedding.

Clytemnestra finally receives the news invented by Agamemnon of Achilles’ infidelity and decides to leave immediately to avoid dishonor. She also asks Iphigenia to reject such a fiancé.

But the innocent Achilles manages to dispel Iphigenia’s distrust by sincerely assuring her of his love.

Act II. The wedding preparations are interrupted by Arcas, who informs the bride that instead of a wedding altar, a sacrificial altar awaits her. Clytemnestra, stunned, begs Achilles to protect his bride, abandoned by her own father. Achilles swears to prevent the murder, even at the cost of a conflict with Agamemnon. But Iphigenia defends her father. The conversation between Achilles and Agamemnon quickly degenerates into a fierce conflict. But Agamemnon soon changes his mind and sends Arcas to secretly take Iphigenia and Clytemnestra away…

Act III. Everyone insists for the sacrifice to take place, preventing the two women from leaving. Achilles is ready to defend Iphigenia, weapon in hand. Iphigenia tries to dissuade him from resorting to violence, but in vain: Achilles, with his warriors, revolts, although the forces are not equal. Iphigenia finally decides on her own to be sacrificed.

The sacrifice is interrupted by the goddess Diana. Blessing the marriage of Iphigenia and Achilles, she declares that, even without the sacrifice, the upcoming military campaign will be a huge success.

Argument of Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris:

Translation by Alexander Bondarev.

The lightning military campaign lasted for many years and ended with the loss of many lives. More than fifteen years have passed since the events at Aulis.

Act I. Iphigenia watches the sea storm with concern. But when the natural elements calm down, the storm continues to rage in her soul. She is tormented by a terrible dream in which she sees her parents’ house on fire, her father, Agamemnon, bleeding under the blows of his mother Clytemnestra; then herself, who stretches out her arms to her brother Orestes, whom she tries to save, but whom she accidentally kills with a weapon placed in her hand by her mother. Iphigenia takes this dream as the bad omen of her brother’s death. She knows nothing of the real fate of her parents, her brother, her sister and her fiancé.

After the storm, two shipwrecked strangers are found on the shore. They put up fierce resistance, but are eventually captured.

Thoas questions them about the reason for their arrival, but the two captives remain silent. Thoas has received a prophecy that he will die at the hands of a stranger, and so he is prepared to kill anyone who sets foot on this land. He sentences them both to death, and it is Iphigenia who must perform this ritual murder.

Act II. The Captured Foreigners are Orestes, Iphigenia’s brother, whom she did not recognize, and his friend Pylades. Orestes despairs of being responsible for the death of his best friend. But Pylades replies that death does not frighten him if they face it together.

Orestes is tormented by visions – his mother, Clytemnestra, has killed her husband, Agamemnon. Orestes, wanting to avenge his trapped and murdered father, has killed his own mother. From now on, he will not be spared from the moral suffering that assail him endlessly.

Iphigenia visits the captive foreigners and asks Orestes what he might know about Agamemnon’s fate. Orestes—who has also failed to recognize his sister—recounts in a few words Agamemnon’s death and Clytemnestra’s murder. When Iphigenia questions Orestes about his own fate, he replies that, of the entire family, only his sister Electra has survived.

Act III. Iphigenia informs the captives that she can only save one of them. And she wants to save the life of the one who reminds her so much of her brother Orestes. With the survivor, she would like to send a letter to her sister Electra. Orestes, for his part, asks to spare Pylades. Pylades must live, while for Orestes, death is only a release from his moral suffering. Iphigenia reluctantly agrees to spare Pylades and gives him a written message. Pylades, as he leaves, promises to do everything to save Orestes.

Act IV. Iphigenia tries to gather her strength to carry out the ritual murder of the stranger. She is forced to carry out the planned execution, but everything in her is opposed to the murder of Orestes. Orestes is grateful to Iphigenia for her compassion, which few people have shown him, but he asks her not to feel sorry for him, because he will be put to death for his crimes. Just before dying, Orestes betrays himself by pronouncing the name of his sister Iphigenia, who was also to be sacrificed in the past. Iphigenia realizes that it is her brother who is before her, and this recognition puts an end to the ritual murder.

Thoas, indignant, demands that Iphigenia answer for her crime: after all, she allowed one of the strangers to escape! Iphigenia refuses to carry out Thoas’s order to kill Orestes, and Thoas threatens them both with death. Pylades returns at the head of a reinforcement and kills Thoas instantly.

The battle is interrupted by the goddess Diana who forgives Orestes for killing his mother. The happy brother and sister are thus reunited.

Arguments taken from the show program, reproduced with the kind permission of the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

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