Iphigenia In Aulis

In three acts by GLUCK.

Text of the original rearranged by R. WAGNER.

This opera, though it does not stand from the point of view of the

artist on the same level with Iphigenia in Tauris, deserves

nevertheless to be represented on every good stage. It may be called

the first part of the tragedy, and Iphigenia in Tauris very beautifully

completes it. The music is sure to be hi
hly relished by a cultivated

hearer, characterized as it is by a simplicity which often rises into

grandeur and nobility of utterance.

The first scene represents Agamemnon rent by a conflict between his

duty and his fatherly love; the former of which demands the sacrifice

of his daughter, for only then will a favorable wind conduct the Greeks

safely to Ilion. Kalchas, the High-priest of Artemis, appears to

announce her dreadful sentence. Alone with the King, Kalchas vainly

tries to induce the unhappy father to consent to the sacrifice.

Meanwhile Iphigenia, who has not received Agamemnon's message, which

ought to have prevented her undertaking the fatal journey, arrives with

her mother Klytemnestra. They are received with joy by the people.

Agamemnon secretly informs his spouse, that Achilles, Iphigenia's

betrothed, has proved unworthy of her, and that she is to return to

Argos at once.--Iphigenia gives way to her feelings. Achilles appears,

the lovers are soon reconciled and prepare to celebrate their nuptials.

In the second act Iphigenia is adorned for her wedding and Achilles

comes to lead her to the altar, when Arkas, Agamemnon's messenger,

informs them that death awaits Iphigenia.

Klytemnestra in despair appeals to Achilles and the bridegroom swears

to protect Iphigenia. She alone is resigned in the belief, that it is

her father's will that she should face this dreadful duty. Achilles

reproaches Agamemnon wildly and leaves the unhappy father a prey to

mental torture. At last he decides to send Arkas at once to Mykene

with mother and daughter and to hide them there, until the wrath of the

goddess be appeased. But it is too late.

In the third act the people assemble before the Royal tent and with

much shouting and noise demand the sacrifice. Achilles in vain

implores Iphigenia to follow him. She is ready to be sacrificed, while

he determines to kill anyone, who dares touch his bride. Klytemnestra

then tries everything in her power to save her. She offers herself in

her daughter's stead and finding it of no avail at last sinks down in a

swoon. The daughter, having bade her an eternal farewell, with quiet

dignity allows herself to be led to the altar. When her mother awakes,

she rages in impotent fury; then she hears the people's hymn to the

goddess, and rushes out to die with her child.--The scene changes.--The

High-priest at the altar of Artemis is ready to pierce the innocent

victim. A great tumult arises, Achilles with his native Thessalians

makes his way through the crowd, in order to save Iphigenia, who

loudly invokes the help of the goddess. But at this moment a loud

thunder-peal arrests the contending parties, and when the mist, which

has blinded all, has passed, Artemis herself is seen in a cloud with

Iphigenia kneeling before her.

The goddess announces that it is Iphigenia's high mind, which she

demands and not her blood, she wishes to take her into a foreign land,

where she may be her priestess and atone for the sins of the blood of


A wind favorable to the fleet has risen, and the people filled with

gratitude and admiration behold the vanishing cloud and praise the