Skip to main content

Opera Atelier's Iphigénie en Tauride

Iphigénie en Tauride
Opera Atelier
November 4, 2009

Directed by Marshall Pynkoski
Choreographed by Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg
Original costume design by Dora Rust D'Eye
Tafelmusik Orchestra & Chamber Choir conducted by Andrew Parrott

Performances continue to November 7

Gluck's 1779 opera is often considered his crowning glory, a masterpiece of "reformation" opera that put the drama back into an artform that had become rather static over time. In the 18th century, opera was dominated by the kind of "opera seria" we now most associate with Handel, where recitative and aria are strictly separated. Think Messiah - great music, beautiful singing, but dramatic theatre it's not. Seen in context in Opera Atelier's sumptuous period production, it's a treat for the eyes and ears.

The performance brings together dancers, singers and a chorus in a rich panoply of sight and sound, ably anchored by the formidable talents of soprano Peggy Kriha Dye as Iphigénie and Croatian tenor Kresimir Spicer in the role of Orestes, both of whom exuded just the kind of opulent emotion the story calls for. The opera is based on Euripides' play Iphigenia en Tauris and of course ancient Greek legend. It's the tail end of the saga of Agamemnon's lineage and the aftermath of the Trojan war, and the (very) abbreviated version, and necessary backstory, go like this:

Agamemnon, a Greek king, sacrifices daughter Iphigénie to appease the goddess Diana for an insult so that she'll allow the Greek fleet to sail for Troy. At the last minute of the sacrifice, Diana relents and spirits Iphigénie away to Tauride to serve as her priestess, but everyone believes she has been killed. Wife Clytemnestra harbours a serious grudge over this act, and when Agamemnon gets home after a decade of war, she murders him. Son Orestes is compelled to avenge his father's murder, and kills her in turn, whereupon the Furies pursue him for vengeance of their own. Thus, he ends up in Tauride, where he's about to be sacrificed by the priestess of Diana to appease the gods... There's a beautiful kind of symmetry in all of it, no? There's a scene where the Taurean men sing and dance in thanks to the gods for having sent them a sacrifice, people have bad dreams that foretell of death and destruction, and poor Iphigénie is about at the end of her rope - although it does have a "happy" ending, in case you were worried. Pynkoski's direction adds a homoerotic element to the relationship between Orestes and his best friend Pylade (sung by Canadian tenor Thomas Macleay in his debut) that probably wasn't present in Gluck's era, but is also probably truer to the intent of the ancient Greek story.

Along with an emotional and dramatic performance that would have brought tears to Gluck's eyes, kudos have to go to Doris Rust D'Eye and her gorgeously intricate costuming, along with the people now departed who created the beautifully neo-baroque Elgin Theatre, which served as a wonderful complement to the production. Tafelmusik, under the baton of Andrew Parrott, gave a flawless rendition of the ornate score -there really was no weak link to this elaborate performance. Highly recommended, and there's still time to get your tix.

About the photos:
1st - Photo: Bruce Zinger / Artists: Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg & Curtis Sullivan
2nd - Photo: Photo: Bruce Zinger / Artists: Soprano Peggy Kriha Dye (centre) as Iphigénie with Artists of Atelier Ballet
3rd - Photo: Photo: Bruce Zinger / Artists: (From left) Tenor Kresimir Spicer as Oreste and tenor Thomas Macleay as Pylade
4th - Photo: Bruce Zinger / Artists: Kresimir Spicer (centre) with Artists of Atelier Ballet

Comments

  1. Good post and Smart Blog
    Thanks for your good information and i hope to subscribe and visit my blog Ancient Greece and more Blank Maps of Ancient Greece thanks again admin

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

What Else Is Hot This Week?

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Review: Night of the Kings / La Nuit des Rois by Philippe Lacôte

Review: 
Night of the Kings
La Nuit des Rois
by Philippe LacôteA France, Côte d'Ivoire, Canada and Senegal co-productionNow Playing In The New York Film FestivalImageAfter Venice and the Toronto Film Festival, Philippe Lacôte's Night of the Kings has moved on to conquer New York City. A young pickpocket (Koné Bakary), is incarcerated in the giant La MACA prison, the largest in Côte d’Ivoire. The prison offers a hostile atmosphere, where the guards have long given up keeping order and the prisoners run the show, albeit confined within the prison walls. They dance, sing, and mingle at will in a common area called The Jungle. There is a violent power struggle between Lord Blackbeard (Steve Tientcheu), who runs things, and the younger leaders of other factions. Blackbeard is old and infirm, and he knows he can't hold on forever. But, he does want to hold on long enough to leave on his own terms. Blackbeard designates the newcomer as the new storyteller - the griot - called Roma…

Blues/Rock: The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now? (Independent / 24 July 2020)

Blues/Rock:
The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now?
(Independent / 24 July 2020) Buy the CD Big vocals and infectious grooves make up this release from The Cole Patenaude Band. It's modern blues with a classic sensibility, anchored by solid musicianship and upbeat songwriting. 
Keyboard player Dean Thiessen and Patenaude on guitar trade off solos and melodic lines to keep it interesting through a range of bluesy style, incorporating rock and country, with a pop song sheen on songs like For the Money. Would You Be Mine is more Elvis-esque rockabilly, while How To Love is an acoustic song with folky storytelling lyrics and feel. 
Compromise is a standout track, with a snarly guitar line and a churchy organ swelling underneath a nice bluesy beat. Horns aren't credited in the notes, but I swear I heard some on this and a couple of the other tracks. 
As a husband, father, and full-time mechanic based in Langley, British Columbia, finding the time to make his music was a challenge…