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Christoph Williabald Gluck - Iphigenie en Tauride / Galstian, Gilfry, van der Walt, Christie, Guth (Opernhaus Zurich)

3.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Iphig+ªnie en Tauride is considered by many to be Gluck's greatest work and the culmination of his career. Iphig+ªnie en Tauride comes as close as possible to the complete realization of the composer's ideal of putting music at the service of poetry to achieve dramatic truth.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: William Christie, Juliette Galstian, Rod Gilfry, Deon van der Walt, Anton Scharinger
  • Directors: Thomas Grimm, Claus Guth
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 27, 2006
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FII2DE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,767 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Christoph Williabald Gluck - Iphigenie en Tauride / Galstian, Gilfry, van der Walt, Christie, Guth (Opernhaus Zurich)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Boerger on July 2, 2006
Format: DVD
Iphigenie en Tauride is a great opera by a great composer, so it is nice to finally have a production available on DVD. Is this an ideal production? Probably not. I had never seen the work produced onstage before watching this, but based on my limited exposure to the opera, this DVD works beter on audio terms than on visual ones.

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.
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Format: DVD
The Kultur version only has DD 2.0 sound while the ArtHaus version gives you the choice of PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, and DTS 5.1. The latter also has an hour long documentary, "Gluck the Reformer", which is one of the best extras I've seen on an opera DVD. On it, conductors William Christie and John Eliot Gardiner explain just what Gluck was reforming, director Claus Guth explains what was going on with the masked shadows, and the three principal singers explain further aspects of the story line. This version is available from many sources, like the UK Amazon.

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.
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Format: DVD
... or should always come first in opera productions, right? Naturally I would say so, since I'm a musician myself. But if you read the reviews of opera productions, not just here in the amazoo but in the trade publications and newspapers, you'll soon notice that staging, costuming, and dramaturgy provoke more intense reactions from opera fans than the music. And that's a weird paradox! There are many more operas in the active repertoire with great music and lame librettos than the converse. Christoph Willibald Gluck's "Iphegenie en Tauride" is not an example of that imbalance; both the music and the drama rank near the top of the repertoire, close to the fundamental ideal of opera as the most affective synthesis of music, language, and visual artistry.

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I would like to second the opinion of reviewer "jswell". I'm a great fan of Gluck and would also affirm the opinions of reviewer "C. Boerger" as to his significance in the history of opera. That said, I cannot praise enough this intense, rapidly moving production of Iphigenie en Tauride. I think the pantomimes on stage are in effect as important as the witches and ghost in Macbeth. They markedly add to the drama. Great production!
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This is probably a very good performance from the musical point of view given the strong cast and the highly regarded musical director. But I can't tell because the stage director's ideas are such a distraction. Opera is most moving when we can identify with the humanity of the characters. Most people I know do not have heads many times larger than normal...maybe directors do.
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