Iphigénie en Tauride (Desmarets and Campra)

Iphigénie en Tauride (English: Iphigeneia in Tauris) is an opera by the French composers Henri Desmarets and André Campra. It takes the form of a tragédie en musique in a prologue and five acts. The libretto is by Joseph-François Duché de Vancy with additions by Antoine Danchet. Desmarets had begun work on the opera around 1696 but abandoned it when he was forced to go into exile in 1699. Campra and his regular librettist Danchet took up the piece and wrote the prologue, most of Act Five, two arias in Act One, an aria for Acts Two and Three, and two arias for the fourth act. The plot is ultimately based on Euripides' tragedy Iphigeneia in Tauris.

Performance history

Iphigénie was first performed by the Académie royale de musique at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris on 6 May 1704 with Françoise Journet as Iphigénie and Gabriel-Vincent Thévenard as Oreste. It was coolly received at first, but enjoyed several revivals in the 18th century, the last being in 1762.


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 6 May 1704
L'ordonnateur des jeux/L'Océan basse-taille (bass-baritone) Charles Hardouin
Diane bas-dessus (mezzo-soprano/contralto) Julie d'Aubigny, known as La Maupin
An inhabitant of Délos haute-contre Antoine Boutelou
Iphigénie dessus (soprano) Mlle Desmatins
Électre dessus Mlle Armand
Oreste basse-taille Gabriel-Vincent Thévenard
Pylade haute-taille (baritenor) M Poussin[1]
Triton haute-contre Pierre Chopelet
Thoas bass Jean Dun (père)
Isménide dessus Mlle Bataille
Le grand sacrificateur haute-contre Louis Mantienne


  • Original libretto: Iphigénie en Tauride, Tragédie, Représentée pour la prémiere fois par l'Academie Royale de Musique, Le Mardi sixiéme jour de May 1704, Paris, Ballard, 1704 (accessible for free online at Gallica, Bibliothèque Nationale de France)
  • The Viking Opera Guide ed. Holden (Viking, 1993)
  • Le magazine de l'opéra baroque, accessed 2 November 2009
  • Amadeus Almanac

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