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Music : Minkowski, Gens, Delunsch - Gluck: Iphigenie En Aulide, Iphigenie En Tauride (2013)

Minkowski, Gens, Delunsch - Gluck: Iphigenie En Aulide, Iphigenie En Tauride (2013)
Classical | Bluray-rip 720p | Audio: French | Subtitles: English, French, German, Dutch, Korean | Run time: 113 mins | 3.24 GB
AVC, MKV 1280x720 (16:9) 29.97fps, 2496kbps | DTS, 48000Hz, 6ch, 1510kbps

"Two late and baleful tragedies by Euripides focus on the ill-starred daughter of the Greek King, Agamemnon. Will he sacrifice Iphigenia in order to secure fair winds for his voyage to Troy? In Aulis, the drama rages until she is spared. Having escaped to Tauris, Iphigenia finds herself compelled to kill her own brother before, once more, the fickle gods intervene."

"Reviews: You don't see productions of Iphigénie en Aulide coming along very often, or indeed much of C.W. Gluck's works these days which, considering the importance of the composer to the world of opera, is something of a mystery. Even more rarely do you see it paired the way it is here at the De Nederlandse Opera with its sister work Iphigénie en Tauride, but the two works are perfectly complementary. Composed at different times with a different approach to Gluck's reformist agenda, they were perhaps never intended to be performed together, but the pairing of the two works side-by-side like this at least allows those differences in approach - so important to the progress and development of the traditional form of the modern opera - to be better appreciated.

The subjects may be classical ones from Euripides, but by getting right back to basics of dramatic situation and expression, Gluck was able to find deeply human characteristics - love, anger, betrayal, vengeance - in mythological situations that elevated those feelings and emotions by placing them in the grander picture of questions of war, honour, duty, fate, destiny if you like, or the will of the Gods. They are stories of great simplicity and utmost gravity, and they require little more - as Pierre Audi recognises here - than a few strong images and symbols to help define their essential characteristics and at the same time serve to link them together. Played largely in the round, compressing the drama into a small area at the front of the stage and putting the orchestra at the back, with the chorus section arranged oratorio-style behind them, it's a stripped-down staging that works well in as far as it draws the full dramatic power out of the works. Which is what Gluck is all about really.

It's hard then to fault the presentation and the careful equilibrium that is maintained by Marc Minkowski Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble in conjunction with the stage direction and the singing. I've heard Iphigénie en Tauride performed with more beauty and lyricism by William Christie and Les Arts Florissantes (in a Claus Guth production on DVD), but never quite so forcefully in a way that integrates it so well with the musical drama. It's a spirited orchestral performance, wonderfully expressive, delivered with controlled ferocity in places even, but Minkowski also directs Iphigénie en Aulide with consideration for how the individual works contrast with and complement the other. Both works are performed moreover on period instruments tuned to the original pitch.

The singing is also strong in the performances of both works, with only Salomé Haller's Diana common to both. Iphigenia in Iphigénie en Aulide is sung and performed marvellously by Veronique Gens with her customary attention to detail and the requirements of Baroque opera singing. There are no mannerisms and no exaggeration by any of the performers, who treat the work with the necessary dramatic gravity and sincerity. Surprisingly, as she is such a wonderful singer of Gluck, and has even recorded the role of Clytemnestra in this opera before, only Anne Sofie von Otter seemed underpowered and unable to match the intensity of the performances.

In Iphigénie en Tauride, Iphegenia is sung by Mireille Delunsch, a soprano in a role that is more often sung by a mezzo-soprano. More than just capably sung, Delunsch has a nice tone and timbre that suits arrangement here and proves to be strong enough to make the necessary impression. The casting for this work however favours and puts more emphasis on the fate and the friendship of Orestes and Plyade. Orestes is sung wonderfully by Jean-François Lapointe, who makes more of an impression as a true baritone than Plácido Domingo did at the Metropolitan Opera's production a few seasons ago. He also works wonderfully off Yann Beuron's excellent Pylade, the two combined bringing another dimension to the work.

The presentation on Blu-ray is strong with a clear, bright and detailed image. The audio mixes, on account of the acoustics, are a little bright and echoing, losing focus in the surround DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 mix. The PCM track through headphones however reveals the qualities of the sound and the performances very well. As well as two full-length operas on this release, there are also two 20-minute Behind the Scenes Introductions on the BD, one for each opera, and Cast Galleries. The booklet contains an essay and two full synopses. The BD is All-region compatible, with subtitles in English, French, German, Dutch and Korean."


1. Iphigénie en Aulide by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer: Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano), Véronique Gens (Soprano), Salome Haller (Soprano),
Nicolas Testé (Bass)
Conductor: Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble: Netherlands Opera Chorus, Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Classical
Written: 1772-1774; Vienna, Austria

2. Iphigénie en Tauride by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer: Yann Beuron (Tenor), Mireille Delunsch (Soprano), Laurent Alvaro (Baritone),
Jean Francois Lapointe (Voice), Salome Haller (Soprano)
Conductor: Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble: Netherlands Opera Chorus, Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Classical
Written: 1778-1779; Vienna, Austria

Iphigénie en Aulide:
Iphigénie - Véronique Gens
Diane - Salomé Haller
Agamemnon - Nicolas Testé
Clytemnestre - Anne Sofie von Otter

Iphigénie en Tauride:
Iphigénie - Mireille Delunsch
Thoas - Laurent Alvaro
Oreste - Jean-François Lapointe
Pylade - Yann Beuron
Diane - Salomé Haller
Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble
Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera
Conductor - Marc Minkowski
Director - Pierre Audi



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Language : French

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