Magazine article Opera Canada

San Francisco Opera: Iphigenie En Tauride

Magazine article Opera Canada

San Francisco Opera: Iphigenie En Tauride

Article excerpt

Iphigenie en Tauride, Gluck's sublimely austere masterpiece, found its equal in director Robert Carsen's hard-edged conception as it surged through Tobias Hoheisel's all-black setting in costumes that were also virtually all black. Dancers enacting the basics of this Greek tragedy erupt, tumble and flow, while we hear the chorus they represent from the pit. Indeed, the whole action, staged for San Francisco Opera by Jean Michel Criqui (June 14-29), required complex dance movement of every singer. Names of the doomed family trapped within this black prison are chalked in giant letters on black walls and floors, while water representing blood drips down them and eases towards the audience and raking lights cast giant shadows.

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Susan Graham, whose mezzo-soprano finds its apotheosis in Gluck's music for Iphigenie, dominated the scene with her depth, flexibility, tonal variety and emotional intensity. She is the daughter sacrificed by Agamemnon to win the Trojan War--but in this version is saved by Diana and thus on the island of Tauride. …

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