Samantha Emily Evans fills us in on the details of Gluck’s ‘Iphigenie in Tauris’ being performed by the Byre Opera in the Byre Theatre June 15th, 17th, and 18th, 2015. 



Iphegenie in Tauris - Byre Opera - June 2015-page-001



Byre Opera presents a brand new translation of Gluck’s Iphigenie in Tauris in a production at the Byre Theatre with three performances on Monday 15, Wednesday 17, and Thursday 18 June 2015. The new production is the first under Byre Opera’s new name, as it was formerly known as the St Andrews Opera. It will be the first opera St Andrews’ Byre Theatre has hosted since its re-opening in the autumn of 2014.

Iphigenie in Tauris has only been performed three times in Scotland professionally; this will be the first production in almost 20 years. The opera will be conducted by Dr Michael Downes, Director of Music at the University of St Andrews and Artistic Director of The Byre Theatre. The cast consists of a number of the University’s prominent vocal students and leading young professionals, including baritone Andrew McTaggart. The singers will perform alongside London-based professional period instrument ensemble Ars Eloquentiae and the renowned Fitzwilliam String Quartet, as part of a week-long residency by the two instrumental groups.

Originally in French, the opera’s libretto has been translated into English in the first collaboration between the University of St Andrews’ Music Centre and French Department. The University has introduced an innovative ‘Translating French Opera’ module as part of the Modern Languages degree course, an initiative unique in the UK. Under the guidance of Senior French Lecturer Dr Julia Prest and Music Director Dr Michael Downes, the students have collectively produced a modern translation, which will be premiered by their peers in this new production.

Since its foundation in 2008, Byre Opera (formerly known as St Andrews Opera) has gone from strength to strength, with each production providing a new opportunity for the University’s most talented performers to present an extraordinarily high-quality operatic experience to St Andrews audiences. Michael Downes says, “St Andrews is increasingly becoming a significant part of the student opera scene in the UK as more and more talented singers come to study here. The University offers excellent coaching opportunities allowing young voices to grow in stature before some go on to conservatory and the professional world. In St. Andrews, young singers have the opportunity to develop the essential modern languages in great depth, while gaining extensive performance experience”.

The director of Iphigenie in Tauris, Dr Jane Pettegree (who directed the company’s 2013 production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea) presents a contemporary exploration of the opera’s timeless themes of family, friendship, and national identity. She says, “Gluck’s opera doesn’t provide easy answers; it even shows that ties of friendship and family, which usually lie at the core of our small acts of love and kindness, are also capable of generating violence. It takes a miracle to stop the cycle of destruction – whether that miracle is divine or human is left open in this production.”

Performances: Monday June 15th, Wednesday June 17th, Thursday June 18th 19:00 at the Byre Theatre

Tickets: £16, £12 (concessions and Music Centre members), £6 (students and U26)

Advance tickets available from the Byre Box Office, 01334 475000

Special Offer: Opera ticket holders can enjoy a two-course meal with a glass of wine for just £12.95 prior to the performance for which they have tickets. Please book in advance at the Byre Box Office.

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Samantha Emily Evans



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