Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787)

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0120050718

In the course of his lengthy career, Gluck wrote over 50 operas, but only a handful are ever performed today.

Yet he is regarded as a major figure in the development of modern opera.

Donald Macleod looks at the life and music of the man who fundamentally reformed the nature of opera.

Extracts from:

La Clemenza di Tito

Cecilia Bartoli

Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin

Bernhard Forck (director)

Le Cinesi

Sivene....Isabelle Poulenard

Tangia....Anne Sofie von Otter

Lisinga....Gloria Banditelli

Silango....Guy de Mey

Orchestra of the Schola Cantorum basiliensis

Rene Jacobs

L'Innocenza Giustificata

Cappella Coloniensis

Christopher Moulds (director)

Don Juan

Tafelmusik

Bruno Weil (conductor).

012007092420080728

With Donald Macleod.

Remembered today as a composer who reformed the narrow conventions of Italian and French opera, Gluck was a fascinatingly unique composer.

He deliberately stood aloof from any school or tradition, declaring he wanted to write 'music belonging to all nations'.

Overture (Orfeo ed Euridice)

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra

Rene Jacobs (conductor)

Non vi turbate, no, pietosi dei (Alceste)

Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)

The English Concert

Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord/director)

Iphigenie en Aulide (Act 2, scenes 6-7)

Achille....John Aler (tenor)

Agamemnon....Jose van Dam (bass-baritone)

Orchestra de l'Opera de Lyon

John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

Chaconne (Alessandro)

Musica Antiqua Koln

Reinhard Goebel (conductor)

Iphigenie en Tauride (Act 3)

Iphigenie....Mireille Delunsch (soprano)

Oreste....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)

Une Pretresse....Claire Delgado-Boge (soprano)

Pylade....Yann Beuron (tenor)

Les Musiciens du Louvre

Marc Minkowski (conductor).

0220050719

Donald Macleod examines the opera that transformed Gluck's standing - both among his contemporaries and for all time, and looks at the radical re-working Gluck undertook for the premiere in Paris, where the castrato voice had already fallen out of fashion.

Extracts from:

Orfeo ed Euridice

Orfeo....Derek Lee Ragin

English Baroque Soloists

John Eliot Gardiner (director)

Orphee et Eurydice

Orphee....Richard Croft

Eurydice....Mireille Delunsch

L'Amour....Marion Harousseau

Les Musiciens du Louvre

Marc Minkowski (director).

022007092520080729

Donald Macleod traces the young Gluck's journeys across Europe before he settled in Vienna to write his landmark opera Orfeo ed Euridice.

Though the Bohemian composer's first language was Czech, he learnt his operatic trade in Milan and once even wowed Londoners with his party trick of performing on tuned wine glasses.

Overture (La rencontre imprevue)

Orchestre de l'Opera de Lyon

John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

Tremo fra' dubbi miei (La clemenza di Tito)

Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo-soprano)

Akademie fur Alte Musik, Berlin

Bernhard Forck (conductor)

Larghetto and Allegro non troppo (Don Juan)

English Baroque Soloists

Orfeo ed Euridice (Act 3)

Orfeo....Bernarda Fink (mezzo-soprano)

Euridice....Veronica Cangemi (soprano)

Amore....Maria Cristina Kiehr (soprano)

RIAS Chamber Choir

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra

Rene Jacobs (conductor).

0320050720

Gluck regarded his opera Alceste as one of his greatest achievements.

He was keen to impress audiences in both Vienna and Paris and, as with Orfeo ed Euridice, he wrote two versions to accommodate his audiences' tastes.

Donald Macleod introduces extracts from the French version and takes a look at the last of the trilogy of Gluck's so-called 'reform operas'.

Extracts from:

Alceste

Alceste....Anne Sofie von Otter

Admetus....Paul Groves

Grand Priest of Apollo....Dietrich Henschel

Monteverdi Choir

English Baroque Soloists

John Eliot Gardiner (director)

Paride ed Elena

Paris....Magdalena Kozená

Helen....Susan Gritton

Amore....Carolyn Sampson

Pallas Athene....Gillian Webster

Gabrieli Consort and Players

Paul McCreesh (director).

032007092620080730

In his lifetime, Gluck's achievements were overshadowed by a fiery debate on the relationship between words and music in opera.

Gluck's manifesto, laid out in the preface to his opera Alceste, was to 'restrict music to its true function of serving poetry'.

Donald Macleod investigates.

Sinfonia and Marche (Alessandro)

Musica Antiqua Koln

Reinhard Goebel (conductor)

Alceste (Act 3, scenes 3-5)

Alceste....Theresa Ringholz (soprano)

Admeto....Justin Lavender (tenor)

Evandro....Jonas Degerfeldt (tenor)

Ismene....Miriam Treichl (soprano)

Gran sacerdote/Apollo....Lars Martinsson (baritone)

Eumelo....Adam Giertz (treble)

Aspasia....Emelie Clausen (soprano)

Un banditore....Mattias Nilsson (baritone)

L'Oracolo....Johan Lilja (bass)

Drottningholm Theatre Chorus and Orchestra

Arnold Ostman (conductor)

Paride ed Elena (Overture; Act 1)

Paride....Magdalena Kozena (mezzo-soprano)

Amore....Carolyn Sampson (soprano)

Gabrieli Consort and Players

Paul McCreesh (conductor).

0420050721

Gluck's quick temper and combative nature earned him an unenviable reputation, and when he spent six months rehearsing his next opera for Paris, he stretched the performers' tolerance to the limit.

Nevertheless, Iphigenie en Aulis was a great success and it was the making of Gluck in the capital.

Donald Macleod introduces highlights from this and his next great success in Paris, Armide.

Iphigenie en Aulis

Clytemnestra....Anne Sofie von Otter

Iphigenie....Lynne Dawson

Agamemnon....Jose van Dam

Achilles....John Aler

Monteverdi Choir

Orchestre de l'Opera de Lyon

John Eliot Gardiner (director)

Armide

Armide....Mireille Delunsch

Phenice....Francoise Masset

Sidonie....Nicole Heaston

Hidraot....Laurent Naouri

Aronte....Vincent le Texier

Two coryphees....Sandrine Rondot, Myriam Sosson

Crusaders....Brett Polegato, Yann Beuron

Les Musiciens du Louvre and Chorus

Marc Minkowski (director).

0420070927

Donald Macleod looks at Gluck's decision in 1774 to apply his radical aesthetic ideals within the narrow traditions of French opera.

Triumph overcame initial hostility with the Paris premiere of Iphigenie en Aulide and a French version of Orfeo.

Air gai (Danse, Act 2, Iphigenie en Aulide)

Orchestre de l'Opera de Lyon

John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

Orphee et Euridice (Act 2, scenes 1-4)

Orphee....Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)

Eurydice....Barbara Hendricks (soprano)

Monteverdi Choir

Orchestra de l'Opera de Lyon

Iphigenie en Aulide (Act 3)

Iphigenie....Lynne Dawson (soprano)

Arcas....Rene Schirrer (baritone)

Achille....John Aler (tenor)

Clytemnestre....Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)

Calchas....Gilles Cachemaille (bass-baritone)

Diane....Guillemette Laurens (mezzo-soprano)

Agamemnon....Jose van Dam (bass-baritone)

042007092720080731

4/5.

Donald Macleod looks at Gluck's decision in 1774 to apply his radical aesthetic ideals within the narrow traditions of French opera.

Triumph overcame initial hostility with the Paris premiere of Iphigenie en Aulide and a French version of Orfeo.

Air gai (Danse, Act 2, Iphigenie en Aulide)

Orchestre de l'Opera de Lyon

John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

Orphee et Euridice (Act 2, scenes 1-4)

Orphee....Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)

Eurydice....Barbara Hendricks (soprano)

Monteverdi Choir

Orchestra de l'Opera de Lyon

Iphigenie en Aulide (Act 3)

Iphigenie....Lynne Dawson (soprano)

Arcas....Rene Schirrer (baritone)

Achille....John Aler (tenor)

Clytemnestre....Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)

Calchas....Gilles Cachemaille (bass-baritone)

Diane....Guillemette Laurens (mezzo-soprano)

Agamemnon....Jose van Dam (bass-baritone)

05 LAST2007092820080801

5/5.

Donald Macleod concludes his survey of Gluck's rollercoaster operatic career, including his sequel to Iphigenie en Aulide, and a French farce that sent him back to Vienna with his tail between his legs.

Chaconne (Alceste, Act 3)

English Baroque Soloists

John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

Armide (Act 2)

Artemidore....Yann Beuron (tenor)

Renaud....Charles Workman (tenor)

Hidraot....Laurent Naouri (baritone)

Armide....Mireille Delunsch (soprano)

Une Naiade....Valerie Gabail (soprano)

Deux coryphees en echo....Sandrine Rondot, Myriam Sosson (sopranos)

Coryphees....Valerie Gabail, Thierry Gregoire, Jean-Christophe Hurtaud, Marcos Loureiro de Sa

Une Bergere....Nicole Heaston (soprano)

Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre

Les Musiciens du Louvre

Marc Minkowski (conductor)

Iphigenie en Tauride (Act 4)

Iphigenie....Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)

Oreste....Thomas Allen (baritone)

Une femme greque....Daniella Borst (soprano)

Thoas....Rene Massis (bass-baritone)

Pylade....John Aler (tenor)

Monteverdi Choir

Orchestre de l'Opera Lyon