Disappointed by his reception in London, Cherubini started to visit Paris. But first a new challenge awaited him, this time in Turin, where he spent a brief period between London and Paris: there he composed a new opera seria, Ifigenia in Aulide
, to a libretto by Ferdinando Moretti, and personally supervised its first performance at the Teatro Regio on 12 January 1788. Contemporary accounts speak of a particularly brilliant result. For what was to turn out to be his last Italian opera seria, Cherubini distanced himself to some extent from the purely virtuosic considerations imposed by the fashion for bel canto and sought greater dramatic verisimilitude. This he achieved by giving still more importance to the orchestra, as is shown by the aria ‘Turbata ai dubbi accenti’ (Act I, scene 5): it is launched by an extended instrumental Allegro, in which solo clarinets emerge from the texture. Iphigenia makes her entry with a hovering vocalise which then descends over a wide range; her part is characterized by broad vocal gestures and long passages of coloratura, but the vocal virtuosity seems aimed more at following the words closely rather than an end in itself.
from notes by Francesco Ermini Polacci © 2012
English: Charles Johnston