Christoph Williabald Gluck - Iphigenie en Tauride / Galstian, Gilfry, van der Walt, Christie, Guth (Opernhaus Zurich)
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Gluck's operas come between Handel's and Mozart's, they form a bridge between baroque and classical. In the development of opera as an art form Gluck was a very important figure. He took opera seria and made it more direct, more visceral, more dramatic, trimming many of the frills associated with the genre so that the result is something compact, intensified, emotionally engaging(similar to what Verdi accomplished with bel canto). Iphigenie en Tauride might just be the epitome of this approach. Typical of opera seria, there isn't much action...most of the key events have already happened offstage, before the opera begins, leaving the characters to dwell on their personal crises and emotional conflicts that result from said events. Despite all this, Iphigenie is a swiftly paced opera, it doesn't crawl, it MOVES, and this is a result of Gluck's galvanized score, driving the characters and story toward the denouement in a minimal amount of time(the running time on this disc is under two hours) but with a high level of energy. Brilliant writing on the composer's part. No doubt Gluck played an influential role in the young Mozart's development in producing music that was equally mobile and consuming.
The audio portion of this disc is virtually flawless. All the singers are in fine voice. Juliette Galstian and Rodney Gilfry, the two leads, sing in a manner that is powerful, intensely dramatic, larger than life.Read more ›
In the US, in order to play the ArtHaus version, you will need to buy an all region DVD player that converts PAL to NTSC. You should have one on hand, in any case, for other DVDs that are only available in non US formats. Philips DVP5140 Multiformat DVD Player with DivX, MP3, Windows Media Support is inexpensive and does the job quite well. The reviews give information on how it can easily be made region free.
This 2001 production by Opernhaus Zürich, conducted by William Christie, unquestionably put musical values first. Christie extracts every scintilla of musicality from his small 'La Scintilla' chamber orchestra; the instrumental balance within the ensemble is superbly transparent and elegant, and the balance between the orchestra and the singers on this DVD is marvelous, in that the vocal lines don't separate from the instrumental lines like a curdled Hollandaise sauce. I detest recordings on which the voices and the orchestra don't meld into a musical whole. Christie's tempi are thoroughly 'informed' by the musical manners of the 18th Century; they're brightly varied, always expressive, and always as elegant as Parisian audiences of the1770s would have demanded. Singers Rodney Gilfry and Deon van der Walt are gloriously paired as Orestes and Pylades, both with rich robust voices yet with the restraint and polish the music requires.Read more ›
And, the subtitles in English only, are very easy to read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is probably a very good performance from the musical point of view given the strong cast and the highly regarded musical director. Read morePublished on August 20, 2013 by Robert Baksa
I discovered this DVD in the library by accident when I took a course in music appreciation and had to watch an opera. Read morePublished on January 29, 2012 by robert
I am unfortunately one of those people that never saw the live performance. Seeing something live helps you appreciate the most minimal staging. Read morePublished on December 4, 2010 by Bernie
The new Met production of Iphigenie, featuring Susan Graham, was reviewed in the 11/29/07 New York Times by Anthony Tommasini, who raves about Graham's singing and the overall... Read morePublished on November 29, 2007 by RiccardoM
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