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Relocating Iphigénie en Tauride

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This article reflects upon the director’s experience of directing Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride with a student opera company (Byre Opera) in June 2015, and in particular, insights gained about the topical issues raised by this work. Discussion of this particular production is laid alongside reviews of other, professional productions of this piece in the same year, which reveal a range of possible reactions to the potential for Gluck’s composition to be read as reflecting contemporary anxieties and concerns. The article engages with an earlier essay by Michael Ewans in SMT 9:2, 2015, developing and qualifying suggestions made by Ewans about the classical framing of Gluck’s opera to make the work relatable for modern audiences. It concludes that the classical location is used to position a very specific and not necessarily trans-historical set of topical and political resonances; this places a gap between mimetic representation and reality that should be carefully considered by any company hoping to produce the work using a contemporary realist staging.
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Keywords: Euripides; Gluck; Iphigénie; education; opera; topicality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of St Andrews

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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