Friday, November 12, 2010

Euripides’ Ancient Drama Revived by the Washington National Opera

On May 6, 2011, the Washington National Opera will revive the ancient Greek playwright Euripides’ melodrama, Iphigenia in Tauris, with its production of Gluck’s opera Iphigénie en Tauride. This magnificent opera in four acts brims with passion and despair and is expected to delight audiences with the excitement and drama of Euripides’ original play, complemented by the sublime music of Christoph Willibald Gluck.

The plot of the opera revolves around Iphigénie, the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestre, who was to be sacrificed by her father in order to placate the goddess Artemis. Iphigénie was saved when Artemis replaced her with a deer on the sacrificial altar and transported her to Tauride. There, Iphigénie becomes the high priestess of Artemis’ temple, where her duty is to sacrifice foreigners who arrive in Tauride. Desperate to escape her position as priestess and to communicate with her family in Greece, she gets her chance when two mysterious Greeks arrive on the shores of Tauride. These two men, one of whom is Oreste, Iphigénia’s long-lost younger brother, are captured in order to be sacrificed. Under pressure of the king of Tauride, King Thoas, Iphigénie is forced to choose whether to kill her brother or risk her life to save his.

The accomplished soprano Patricia Racette will sing the role of Iphigénie, while world-renowned tenor and director of the Washington National Opera, Plácido Domingo, graces the stage as her brother, Oreste. Conductor William Lacey collaborates with Spanish director Emilio Sagi to produce this performance that is sure to be unforgettable.

Performance dates in 2011: Friday, May 6; Monday, May 9; Thursday, May 12; Sunday, May 15; Tuesday, May 17; Friday, May 20; Wednesday, May 25; Saturday, May 28

Iphigénie en Tauride photo courtesy of the Opera de Oviedo. Plácido Domingo by Karen Cooper of the Washington National Opera.

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