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Performing Arts

The Power of the Baton--and Bruckner

*** GLUCK: "Iphigenie en Tauride" Christine Goerke, soprano; Rodney Gilfry, baritone;

Vinson Cole, tenor; Boston Baroque, Martin Pearlman, conductor; Telarc

October 15, 2000|CHRIS PASLES

Gluck reformed opera by devoting a new "beautiful simplicity" entirely to the service of the drama. All this peaked in "Iphigenie en Tauride." Unfortunately, outside the theater and on the recording, long stretches of the refined score don't make a big impact. But from time to time, the music suddenly blossoms into something extraordinary.

In the title role, Goerke is particularly glorious, soaring in "O malheureuse Iphigenie" and virtuosic in "Je t'implore et je tremble." Gilfry makes a virile Oreste. Cole is a sweet-toned faithful friend, Pylade, who brings the third act to a rousing close. The minor singers are adequate. Pearlman directs the chorus and the period instrument ensemble with sensitivity and verve and walks us through the work in an added 28-minute discussion.

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