Christoph Willibald Gluck • Iphigénie en Tauride

Tragédie in four acts by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714–1787)
Libretto by Nicolas-François Guillard (1752–1814)
after Claude Guimond de La Touche’s tragedy Iphigénie en Tauride (1757)  

With German and English surtitles


  • 22 May, 19:30


  • 25 May, 15:00

Print programme (PDF)


Diego Fasolis, Conductor
Moshe Leiser, Patrice Caurier, Director
Christian Fenouillat, Sets
Agostino Cavalca, Costumes
Christophe Forey, Lighting
Gianluca Capuano, Chorus master
Christian Arseni, Dramaturgy


Cecilia Bartoli, Iphigénie
Christopher Maltman, Oreste
Topi Lehtipuu, Pylade
Michael Kraus, Thoas
Rebeca Olvera, Diane
Lucia Cirillo, Une femme grecque
Marco Saccardin, Un Scythe
Walter Testolin, Le Ministre
Laura Antonaz, Elena Carzaniga, Mya Fracassini, Caroline Germond, Elisabeth Gillming, Marcelle Jauretche, Francesca Lanza, Silvia Piccollo, Nadia Ragni, Brigitte Ravenel, Prêtresses
Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Lugano
I Barocchisti
Alberto Stevanin, Concertmaster
Jory Vinikour, Harpsichord Continuo 


When Christoph Willibald Gluck arrived in Paris in November 1778 to conduct the rehearsals for Iphigénie en Tauride, Goethe was just finishing the original version of his stage play, Iphigenie auf Tauris, which was premièred a few weeks before Gluck’s Iphigénie. The mythological subject matter follows on from Iphigenia’s previous history. She was supposed to be sacrificed to Diana, but the goddess spared her and carried her off to Tauris, where she was forced to serve the goddess as her priestess and sacrifice any foreigners who arrived on the island. Iphigenia’s brother Orestes and his friend Pylades also risked the same fate.
In 1801, Schiller staged this Gluck opera in Weimar together with Goethe, and professed that it had given him “infinite delight”: “Never before has music moved me as purely and beautifully as this; it is a world of harmony that almost penetrates the soul.” With this work, Gluck took the final step in his programme of operatic reform, radically distancing himself from both the formulaic opera seria, with its rigid sequence of numbers, and traditional French opera, to create a touching, psychologically sound musical drama with self-contained scenes and integrated arias. Gluck had long since given the chorus an active role, and in this work, the ballet scenes that were obligatory in Paris are no longer harmless, non-committal amusements, but organically integrated in the action. In Iphigénie en Tauride, Gluck’s maxim that his music “should speak the language of the heart, credibly portray great human passions, and serve poetry” finds convincing formal expression.


“Iphigénie en Tauride” • An Opera of Enlightenment

13 MAY2015

posted in: Opera, Drama, Whitsun

Iphigénie en Tauride, a tragedy in four acts by Christoph Willibald Gluck, will be staged at Whitsun and at the Salzburg Festival in summer. Who is this Iphigénie whose fate inspired not only Christoph Willibald Gluck but also artists like Goethe, Racine, Handel, Tommaso Traetta and Niccolò Jommelli?

read more ...

“Iphigénie en Tauride” • Musical Delight at Whitsun and during the Summer!

10 APR2015

posted in: Opera, Whitsun

When asked what she finds particularly compelling about the first Gluck role she is to perform on stage, Cecilia Bartoli answers: “On the one hand, it is the precise treatment of the words, or rather the careful balancing of text and music; on the other hand, it is the convincing, human portrayal of a figure who is not a cold Greek statute, but a woman full of doubt and emotion. Compared to Goethe’s Iphigenie, Gluck’s Iphigénie seems more vivid, more passionate, and more rebellious.”

read more ...

A Myth without Pathos

9 JAN2015

posted in: Opera, Whitsun

What unites Cleopatra, Norma, Cenerentola and Iphigénie? Cecilia Bartoli creates studies of moving fates with passion. An interview with Cecilia Bartoli about her role debut in the title role of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride.

read more ...

Individual Tickets for the 2015 Whitsun Festival already Available for Online Purchase

14 NOV2014

posted in: Whitsun

Tickets for the 2015 Whitsun Festival are already available for individual sale, not only as subscriptions, but for any performance with tickets still available. The programme includes such highlights as Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride with Cecilia Bartoli and Christopher Maltman, or the ballet performance A Midsummer Night’s Dream by John Neumeier, based on William Shakespeare, featuring the Hamburg Ballet and the Mozarteum Orchestra – and there are still tickets available for some performances. Secure your tickets now, and enjoy the Whitsun Festival, this year under the motto “Thus I will call upon all gods”!

Artemis, Greek sculpture, Larnaca, Cypr0us, 2nd century BC, © akg-images