Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride at The Met

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
February 24, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. — In the 1770s, the directors of the Royal Academy of Music in Paris hatched a plan. Christoph Willibald Gluck lived in Paris from 1774-1779, and enjoyed successful runs of his operas while there.

The directors decided to spice things up a bit by moving Niccolo Piccinni to Paris, creating a rivalry between the two popular operatic composers. Even better, they wanted Piccini and Gluck to write operas based on the same story: "Iphigenia in Tauris," a Greek tale of mythology and the aftermath of the Trojan war written by Euripides.

The rivalry spilled into Parisian culture, pitting so-called Gluckists against so-called Piccinnists.

But Gluck had the upper-hand; he had a head start on the libretto, and Gluck's opera, "Iphigenie en Tauride," opened two years ahead of Piccinni's. Although Gluck had moved away from Paris by the time of Piccinni's premiere, the rivalry continued past Gluck's death in 1787.

Saturday at 12:00 p.m. central, The Metropolitan Opera will present Gluck's "Iphigenie en Tauride" in a live broadcast on Classical Minnesota Public Radio. The star-studded cast includes Susan Graham as Iphigenie, and the just-turned 70 year-old Placido Domingo as Oreste.

On Now

Music Through The Night®
Scott Blankenship
Listen to the Stream
  • Symphony No. 5 "Sinfonia brevis" 12:26 Erkki Melartin
    Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
    Leonid Grin
    Buy Now
  • Three Noels 12:20 Marc-Antoine Charpentier
    Les Arts Florissants
    William Christie
    Buy Now

You can now listen to Classical and Choral Music on your iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) or Android device.

Classical Notes Blog

Read more