Synopsis: Iphigénie en Aulide

from Christoph Willibald Gluck

Iphigenia on Aulis

Returning to Troy, the Greeks are stranded on Aulis (Aulide) by high winds. The goddess Artemis demands a sacrifice if she is to calm the weather.
Agamemnon, unsure of what to do, summons his daughter Iphigenia (Iphigenie) for what she believes will be her marriage to Achilles. Eventually she arrives with her mother, Clytemnestra, but Agamemnon announces that Achilles has changed his mind about the marriage.

Arcas reveals the truth to Iphigenia, that she is to be sacrificed. Achilles promises to defend her and confronts Agamemnon who eventually relents.

The soldiers, furious at being made to wait, begin to demand blood. Despite her lover's protestations and her mother's lamentations, Iphigenia is willing to die for her father. As she awaits her death, Achilles bursts in and, threatening to kill Calchas, the king's advisor, prevents the sacrifice. At this moment, the sacrificial pyre is mysteriously ignited
and the weather calms, to allow Agamemnon and his army safe passage home.