Review: Byre Opera presents ‘Iphigénie in Tauris’

Photography by Ben Goulter, part of Tilted Frame Photography

Photography by Ben Goulter, part of Tilted Frame Photography

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of performing as Iphigénie in Byre Opera’s brand-new translation of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride. The production (which I’ve written about in a previous post: https://carolinetaylorsoprano.com/2015/03/12/rehearsals-begin-for-iphigenie-in-tauris-with-byre-opera/) took place over three nights during June in St Andrews’ beautiful Byre Theatre, which has been thriving since the University’s take-over in summer 2014.

This production was particularly exciting as some of the students in the cast and production team (myself included!) had contributed to the translation of the libretto in an honours-level French module. This gave us a personal connection to the text and motivated us to make the production a success from the outset.

The role of Iphigénie was musically immense and emotionally-challenging, however it was also incredibly rewarding. Working under the direction of Dr Jane Pettegree, the musical direction of Dr Michael Downes and accompanied by a brilliant period instrument orchestra led by Lucy Russell of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, the cast produced three fantastic performances to wide acclaim in St Andrews and beyond, almost selling-out the Theatre over our three nights.

The subject of the in-house translation was even picked up by the Times Higher Education supplement! You can read their article via the following link: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/university-of-saint-andrews-campus-close-up.

As always, I continue to be amazed by the wealth of musical opportunity in St Andrews – and by the standard of the University and town’s young singers and musicians. It has been an absolute honour to perform with Byre Opera – and many thanks to all those who came to support us!

***

“Most of the responsibility fell on the shoulders of Caroline Taylor, in the main and massive lead role…there was assurance in delivery and I thought she captured the character’s mix of naivety and feistiness perfectly, peaking in her Act 3 aria […] Few companies would take this opera on and even fewer would do such an excellent job with it.” (Garry Fraser, The Courier and Advertiser [Fife Edition])

“As Iphigénie, Caroline Taylor was beautifully pure” (Ken Walton, The Scotsman)

“The singers reached a remarkably high standard […] Iphigénie is rarely off the stage and has several quite demanding arias to project. Caroline Taylor sang with sweet and lyrical tone that worked very well.” (Iain Fraser, Opera Scotland: http://www.operascotland.org/tour/2996/Iphigenia-in-Tauris-2015)

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