Iphigénie en Tauride

Christoph Willibald Gluck

Man’s fate seen through the lens of a tragic opera: Gluck’s masterpiece is pared right back to reveal the bare bones of the tragedy.

© Vincent Pontet
© Vincent Pontet
© Vincent Pontet


Thomas Hengelbrock direction
Robert Carsen staging and light 
Christophe Gayral associate staged director
Philippe Giraudeau choreography 
Tobias Hoheisel sets and costumes
Robert Carsen, Peter van Praet lights

Gaëlle Arquez Iphigénie
Stéphane Degout Oreste
Paolo Fanale Pylade
Alexandre Duhamel Thoas
Catherine Trottmann Diane, Second priestess
Francesco Salvadori A Scythian
Charlotte Despaux First priestess, Greek woman
Victor Sicard  Minister of the Sanctuary


  Thursday 13 June 2019 6.30pm 
Meeting with Alexandre Duhamel (Thoas) & Cyrille Gouyette, art historian / Free entrance - Regsiter online

Approximate running time
1st part: 1h - Intermission: 20mn - 2nd part: 45mn
Sung in French with French and English subtitles

“I don’t know if this is singing, but perhaps it is something much better”. This was how diplomat and man of letters Friedrich Melchior Grimm described in his Literary Correspondance the opening night of Iphigénie en Tauride at the Académie Royale de Musique in the spring of 1779. One cannot but agree with him as Gluck’s last great hit in Paris is a masterly illustration of the culmination of his reform of opera seria and presents a sublime work in which the musician pares back all the artifice to reveal the bare bones of the tragedy. In addition to choosing a tightly-plotted story and offering a quasi-realistic portrayal of passions and conflicts, Gluck invents a new relationship between libretto and music, by giving a key role to the orchestra in the framework of the tragedy.

One of the unique vocal characteristics of tragic lyric opera is that it requires perfect mastery of the art of prosody and declamation, a skill lacked neither by young mezzo Gaëlle Arquez, one of the most interesting and sought-after singers at the moment, or elegant Stéphane Degout, whose sense of performance compels admiration. Alongside them are the young but already secure talents of Paolo Fanale, Alexandre Duhamel and Catherine Trottmann, and the ranks of the Balthasar-Neumann-Chor, who are splendid in this repertoire. Canadian director Robert Carsen knows his Gluck inside out. Lastly, in the orchestra pit there is a new face on avenue Montaigne - German conductor Thomas Hengelbrock, whose predilection for diverse soundscapes should work a treat here and round off a fine opera season at the Théâtre.

Coproduction Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Opéra de Rouen-Normandie.
Reprise de la Production du Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera House
La production originale a été rendue possible grâce à la générosité du National Endowment for the Arts et de la Fondation Mazza
En partenariat avec France Télévisions
France Musique enregistre ce concert


Iphigénie en Tauride Gluck

Iphigénie en Tauride Gluck

Iphigénie en Tauride Gaëlle Arquez

Iphigénie en Tauride Gluck


100 seconds with Gaëlle Arquez

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