No Events



Music by Christoph Willibald Gluck, with a libretto by Nicolas-François Guillard • January 20, 23, 26, 28, 2024
CAPA Theater

Blood is thicker…

In the aftermath of the Trojan War, the priestess Iphigénie is tasked to kill any strangers who land on Scythia’s shores. But as Fate would have it, her brother Oreste is the first to be shipwrecked on the peninsula and brought to the sacrificial altar.

The priestess believes her brother to be dead and responsible for the death of their mother. Oreste in turn believes that Iphigénie had been sacrificed to the goddess Diana by their father Agamemnon in return for favorable winds. The siblings fail to recognize each other yet Iphigénie feels a strange kinship with the ill-fated stranger. She wishes to spare him, but Oreste—driven mad by grief and guilt over his family’s compounding tragedy—welcomes death. Will they discover the truth before it is too late?

Showcasing the transition from baroque to classical opera, Christoph Gluck reimagines Euripides’ great Greek drama and reignites it in true operatic form.


These performances are sponsored in part by The Gailliot Fund.


Where: Four performances at Pittsburgh CAPA School Theater, Downtown


  • Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024 * 8:00 PM
  • Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024 * 7:00 PM
  • Friday, Jan. 26, 2024 * 7:30 PM
  • Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024 * 2:00 PM
Emily Richter

Iphigénie: Emily Richter*

Brandon Bell

Oreste: Brandon Bell*

Julia Swan Laird

Diana/Greek Woman: Julia Swan Laird*

Jazmine Olwalia

Priestess: Jazmine Olwalia*

Evan Lazdowski

Thoas, King of Scythia: Evan Lazdowski*

Conductor: Antony Walker
Stage Director: Haley Stamats
Set Designer: Johnmichael Bohach
Costume Designer: Laura Riviere
Lighting & Projection Designer: Tláloc López-Watermann
Stage Manager: Virginia Tipps
Assistant Conductor: Glenn Lewis
Director of Musical Studies: Mark Trawka
Associate Coach/Pianist: James Lesniak
Assistant Stage Manager: Claire Young

+    Pittsburgh Opera debut
*     Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
**   Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni


Four performances at the CAPA School Theater, Downtown

We want you to have the best experience possible at our performances!

Here are some details and resources to help. Also visit our Opera FAQs or our Accessibility page.


  • Children must be ages 6 and up. Suggestions and tips for bringing children to the opera may be found at pittsburghopera.org/FAQ.
  • All children must have a ticket. There is a 50% discount for kids and teens ages 6-18.


A storm batters Diane’s temple at Tauride. Iphigénie and the other priestesses—all of them captives from Greece—ask the gods for safety and peace from the storms raging both outside and within their hearts. Iphigénie relates a dream: her home was destroyed; her father was killed by her mother, Clytemnestre, who gave her a dagger; her brother Oreste cried out to her for help, but she was forced to kill him. The priestesses grieve with Iphigénie and urge her not to lose hope that she will see Oreste again, but she prays to Diane to end her life (“Ô toi qui prolongeas mes jours”).

The Scythian king, Thoas, comes to Iphigénie in despair, followed everywhere by omens and voices calling for his downfall. Oracles have ordered him to sacrifice every stranger to the country to end his torment. His soldiers come with news of new captives—two Greek men—and Thoas orders Iphigénie to kill them on the altar. The Greeks are brought in: one is half-mad, haunted by past crimes, the other defies Thoas. They are imprisoned as the Scythians call for blood.


The strangers are Oreste and his lifelong friend Pylade. Oreste, who has killed his mother and is being pursued by the Furies, lives on the edge of madness; now he feels responsible for Pylade’s imminent death (“Dieux qui me poursuivez”). Pylade calms Oreste with the pledge that they will die together (“Unis dès la plus tendre enfance”). Pylade is taken away, and Oreste sinks gradually into sleep (“La calme rentre dans mon cœur”). But the Furies stalk him even in his dreams. He awakens from a nightmare to find Iphigénie standing before him. Without revealing her identity she questions him about the royal family in Mycène, and he tells her all: Clytemnestre murdered Agamemnon to avenge the death of Iphigénie, Oreste struck down Clytemnestre to avenge his father and then, he adds, Oreste killed himself. Iphigénie sends the stranger to be shackled to the altar, and—now without country, kindred or hope—mourns the loss of her family (“Ô malheureuse Iphigénie”).



Iphigénie feels a strong kinship for the prisoner (“D’une image, hélas!”). She resolves to save at least one of the captives and to send the survivor to Mycène with a letter for her sister, Electre. Pylade, who has been tortured, is reunited with Oreste, and Iphigénie tells them Oreste must live and carry the sealed letter (Trio: “Je pourrais du tyran”). Pylade is happy to die for his friend’s life (“Ah! mon ami”). Oreste, determined that he himself should die, seizes the sacrificial knife and threatens to take his own life if Iphigénie will not spare Pylade. Iphigénie gives Pylade the letter and helps him escape.


Iphigénie tries repeatedly to perform the sacrifice, but she cannot bring herself to harm the stranger and cries out angrily against Diane (“Je t’implore et je tremble”). Oreste is brought in (“Que ces regrets touchant”). Touched by Iphigénie’s sadness and her concern for him, he tries to encourage her to do her duty, calling out in the final moment, “Iphigénie, beloved sister, thus also did you perish at Aulide.” Sister and brother realize the truth. Thoas bursts in: Iphigénie’s plot has been discovered. He orders the Greek killed immediately and is about to sacrifice Oreste himself when Pylade returns with Greek soldiers to save his friend. Thoas is killed in the fray, which is halted when Diane herself appears to pardon Oreste, set the Greek women free, and send prince and princess home to Mycène—and the first happiness they have known since before the Greeks set sail for Troy.

(excerpt from the Metropolitan Opera) 


Enjoy these video excerpts of our production of Iphigénie en Tauride. Videos created and edited by RLG Creations unless otherwise noted. 

View all our Iphigénie en Tauride video excerpts on our special YouTube playlist

Find out what opera goers have to say about the opening night performance.

Video editing by Abbie Whitehurst; performance video by RLG Creations; photos by David Bachman Photography; audience interviews filmed by Chris Cox.

'Dark forebodings and endless terror' oppress the soul of Thoas, the King of Scythia (Evan Lazdowski).

Pylade (Fran Daniel Laucerica) tries to console Oreste (Brandon Bell) about the deadly fate which awaits them.

Iphigénie (Emily Richter) mourns after learning that her parents have been killed.