On the 19th of April 1774 Iphigenia in Aulis, by Christoph Willibald Gluck was premiered in Paris.
A composer of French and Italian opera, Gluck was born in Bavaria in 1714 and raised in Bohemia.
A favourite of the Hapsburg court in Vienna he was to go on to introduce much more dramatic content into the opera of the time. In 1773 he moved to Paris. His music continued to be popular and he was so much in favour that he enjoyed the patronage of Marie Antoinette, teaching her various musical instruments and singing.
Gluck’s opera Iphigenia in Aulis was controversial at the time. The overture led straight into the opening scene of the opera.
“My idea was that the relation of music to poetry was much the same as that of harmonious coloring and well depicted light and shade to an accurate drawing, which animates the figures without altering their outlines.”
After Paris he returned to Vienna to continue to compose., until his death in 1787.
His reforms of opera were to influence many composers including Salieri, Mozart and Berlioz.