Pinchgut Opera’s production of Iphigénie en Tauride received outstanding reviews last year and the recently released live recording proves to be an equally big hit.
Voix des Artes dubbed it ‘Best Opera Recording of 2015’ and Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine have followed suit in singing its praises, calling it a performance out of the ordinary, complimenting the masterly conducting and unstinted involvement, both musically and dramatically, of the singers involved.
Rayfield Allied is proud that no fewer than three of its artists contribute to the great success of this production: conductor Antony Walker, whose command of Gluck’s music is no less noteworthy than his mastery of Nineteenth-Century opera, mezzo soprano Caitlin Hulcup as an exceptional Iphigénie and a worthy rival to Callas, and lastly the refined, ideal performance of baritone Grant Doyle. Read more reviews below, listen to a fragment from the fourth act or click here to order your copy of the CD.
Review round up:
“a performance out of the ordinary has reached CD. … Two interpretative features stand out: justness of overall performing style on the part of every participant, with particularly vigorous choral delivery, and masterly conducting. From the opening, it’s clear that Antony Walker, an experienced Gluckian, is also an unusually sensitive one… he achieves an unfolding both secure and keenly responsive to the content of sounds and silence. Particularly notable is the pathos sustained throughout the third act, most intimate of the four. In other hands it can lose intensity – not here. The youthful Australian quartet of principals sings Gluck’s perilously unadorned phrases with unstinted involvement and, in the case of the warm, unstrained high mezzo Caitlin Hulcup in the title role, a remarkable degree of technical confidence. This [recording] is alive from start to finish.’
Max Loppert, BBC Music Magazine April 2016 (4 stars)
“[Caitlin Hulcup’s] lyric high mezzo, enfolding deeper, grander colourings, and sense of vulnerability are well-nigh ideal for the title-role. She is a fine vocal actress, responding acutely to each psychological phase in the unfolding drama. Iphigenia’s sublime soliloquy ‘O malheureuse Iphigénie’ is beautifully phrased and shaded, sadness etched in the very texture of her voice ... and she is magnificent in the heroic anguish of her Act 4 aria ‘Je t’implore et je tremble’. ... this new Iphigénie is an appreciable achievement, above all for Hulcup’s unfailingly eloquent and intense singing of the title role.”
Richard Wigmore, Gramophone February 2016
“Walker’s stylish, spirited pacing of a wide repertory has been showcased in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world, and this recording confirms that his command of Gluck’s music is no less noteworthy than his mastery of Nineteenth-Century opera. Under Walker’s direction, the playing of Pinchgut Opera’s resident period-instrument ensemble, Orchestra of the Antipodes, is as red-blooded and large-scaled as Gluck’s score requires.
From the first bar of his recitative ‘Ô mon ami, c’est moi qui cause ton trépas!’ in Act One, Adelaide-born baritone Grant Doyle portrays an Oreste of integrity and vulnerability. In Act Four, however, Doyle’s performance is ideal, musically and dramatically. He sings the Larghetto ‘Que ces regrets touchants pour mon cœur ont de charmes!’ with suavity and easy command of the tessitura. Doyle is a captivating actor, but, above all, it is very gratifying to hear a voice of true substance in one of Gluck’s most significant baritone rôles.
Singers with special affinities for Gluck’s music are rare, but even among their sparse company Hulcup is exceptional. A worthy rival to Callas, Jurinac, and Goerke, hers is as well-sung an Iphigénie as has been heard in the modern age.”
Joseph Newsome, Voix des Artes (Best Opera Recording of 2015)