Gluck‘s wonderful but neglected 1774 opera Iphigénie en Tauride, inspired by the Greek legend, is treated with forceful and convincing simplicity in Klaus Guth‘s revolutionary production staged at the Zurich Opera House. The psychological drama in a tense atmosphere of fears and traumas is underlined by Guth‘s use of huge masks and enclosed spaces. Conductor William Christie and his typically transparent but never cold orchestral sound perfectly match the descriptive elements in Gluck’s score, while the Armenian mezzosoprano Juliette Galstian as a fabulously good Iphigénie, the leading American opera baritone Rodney Gilfry as Oreste and the deceased South African tenor Deon van der Walt as Pylade head a superb cast.
Alan Curtis, described by the New York Times' as "one of the great scholar-musicians of recent times", conducts a brilliant cast including Sonia Prina, Ann Hallenberg, Max-Emanuel Cencic and Topi Lehtipuu in the original, 1750 version of Gluck's Ezio, described by Curtis as "from a dramatic point of view, perhaps the finest of Gluck's pre-Orfeo operas".
Written to a libretto by the prolific and influential Metastasio, Ezio exemplifies the formal opera seria that Gluck sought to leave behind with his so-called reform operas such as Orfeo and Alceste; but after Orfeo's epoch-making premiere in Vienna in 1762 he revised Ezio for performance at the city's Burgtheater in 1763…
Two late and baleful tragedies by Euripides focus on the ill-starred daughter of the Greek King, Agamemnon. Will he sacrifice Iphigenia in order to secure fair winds for his voyage to Troy? In Aulis, the drama rages until she is spared. Having escaped to Tauris, Iphigenia finds herself compelled to kill her own brother before, once more, the fickle gods intervene.
Glucks Orfeo ed Euridice is one of music history's most important operas. The cast is led by Bejun Mehta, arguably the best countertenor in the world today (Sueddeutsche Zeitung) as Orfeo, Austrian soprano Eva Liebau as Euridice and Regula Mühlemann as Amore. Director Ondej Havelka combines period details with modern psychological interpretation. The baroque specialist Václav Luks leads the Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704. This cinematic edition celebrates Glucks 2014 tricentenary!
The playing and singing of Hickox’s own orchestra and chorus are always mindful of stylistic matters, crisp and airy in the sensuous dance music, urgent and theatrical (in the best sense) in passionate sections of the score, which Hickox holds together in exemplary manner (Gramophone Magazine). Hickox conducts with a fine sense of theatre, as well as an aptly Gluckian restraint…Palmer is remarkable at her best, and her duet with Rolfe Johnson ('Armide, vous m'allez quitter') is memorably done (International Record Review).
…Gardiner's account of the Vienna Orfeo ed Euridice is peerless. One soon loses all sense of its being a period-instrument performance at all, so profound, at times overwhelming is its impact - so utterly right. In detail after detail - hauntingly poetic offstage instrumental complement, perfectly positioned in the drama (and perfectly captured by the excellent Philips recording); superbly stirring brass playing, which makes every entry a dramatic event; choral singing extraordinarily light in weight yet rich in emotional substance; exquisitely refined dance movements - and in sustainment of a delicately tenebrous, uniquely Gluckian atmosphere throughout, Gardiner's command of an opera championed since his first London concert performance, 21 years ago, is revealed as simply larger and fuller than almost anyone else's. The set was studio-made after many concerthall performances by exactly the same forces, and in recording terms it achieves the best of all worlds -the vitality of a live event married to the precision of a recording. – Gramophone 
The opera is starring countertenor Valer Sabadus - one of opera's most exciting newcomers - now exclusively signed to Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, a division of Sony Classical. Christoph Willibald Gluck, widely known for fundamentally reforming the 'opera seria' wrote some of the greatest and exemplary masterpieces of this great genre before he started his famous reform of the opera. This makes this work a fascinating and enlightening piece in the puzzle for the evolution of opera and the eminent character Gluck. Gluck's setting of La Clemenza was first performed in Naples in 1752, ten years before his first reform opera.