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Adventures with Iphigenia in TaurisA Cultural History of Euripides' Black Sea Tragedy$
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Edith Hall

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195392890

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195392890.001.0001

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Gluck’s Iphigénie in Pain

Gluck’s Iphigénie in Pain

(p.183) IX Gluck’s Iphigénie in Pain
Adventures with Iphigenia in Tauris

Edith Hall

Oxford University Press

Gluck's French-language opera Iphigénie en Tauride, which premiered in Paris in 1783, has remained alive in the repertoire having been choreographed in the 20th century by both Isadora Duncan and Pina Bausch. Gluck and his librettist Nicolas-François Guillard, who made use of an excellent stage play by Claude Guymond de la Touche (1757), effected the last stage in Gluck's transformation of opera into a medium—‘Reform Opera—in which continuous vocal and instrumental writing is synthesised with psychological register. Euripides' IT enabled Gluck to create an opera which expressed emotion continuously in music, since much of it consists of psychic exploration of subjective consciousness—nightmares, thoughts and memories—rather than action. The opera also reflects the constitutional crisis and ideological conflict of its era. Its condemnation of cruelty and tyranny is connected with the emergent sensibility of the French revolutionary movement as well as with the Enlightenment distrust of religion.

Keywords:   C.W. Gluck, Iphigénie en Tauride, opera, reform opera, subjectivity, tyranny, enlightenment, French Revolution, Isadora Duncan, Pina Bausch, Nicolas-François Guillard, Claude Guymond de la Touche

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