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Gluck's Iphigenia in Abu Ghraib

Other Reviews:

Stage Blood Flows in Berlin Production of "Iphigenia" (Deutsche Welle, April 23)

Richard Jinman, Shock and awe and buckets of blood - it must be Kosky (Sydney Morning Herald, May 1)
I was just lamenting the absence of Gluck's operas from the stage. This sounds like a dark production of his Iphigénie en Tauride at the Komische Oper in Berlin. Shirley Apthorp reviewed it (The ruthless realities of myth, May 9) for the Financial Times:
Iphigenie has the worst job in the world, but she does it well. She grasps the half-naked prisoner around the shoulders and slashes his throat with her knife, holding him to drain the blood into her sacrificial tray. That done, she tumbles the corpse into an incinerator, following it with a squirt of disinfectant. But now Thaos’s soldiers march in with a dozen more victims, plastic bags on their heads, and she has to work faster. Barrie Kosky’s new production of Gluck’s darkly dramatic Iphigenie auf Tauris is nothing if not graphic. The prisoners are bruised and battered, the soldiers crazed and dishevelled, blood spurts in dirty gouts. In the pit, Paul Goodwin drives the score’s terrified heartbeat and bleak drama with equal clarity. In their hands, this 18th-century French tale of Greek antiquity becomes uncomfortably contemporary, a tale of military prisons where bad things happen and humans are driven to dreadful extremes.
You can watch a short and disturbing video excerpt of the production here. Five performances remain, through June 30.


Anonymous said...

You ain't kiddin'-- that's disturbing!!!

Anonymous said...

Love your blog! Any suggestions for a great recording of this opera by any chance? I'll be seeing the SF Opera production next month. Thanks and be well.

Charles T. Downey said...

I would recommend the 2001 recording by Marc Minkowski, although it's hard to find these days: Mireille Delunsch, Simon Keenlyside, Laurent Naouri, Les Musiciens du Louvre.