Poor Gluck: he gets no respect at the opera house. The innovative eighteenth-century composer who took the biggest leap in making music fuse with drama in a credible way until Wagner is often praised, but rarely performed. And when he is performed, he has to endure trendy directorial modernizations to make his works “relevant” to a modern audience. Lyric Opera brought back the same creative team that gave us last season’s performance of Gluck’s best-known work, “Orfeo ed Euridice” to stage the first-ever Lyric performance of Gluck’s final work and that which is considered his masterpiece, “Iphigénie en Tauride” with much the same bland results: a bleak, black visual famine for the eyes. Not helping matters is French conductor Louis Langrée, making his Lyric Opera debut with slow tempos and little sense of eighteenth-century style. This production is being mounted as a vehicle for popular Texas mezzo-soprano Susan Graham who lets her hair down—literally—in this production and certainly is more at home singing Gluck than say, Jessye Norman singing “Alceste” here some years ago, but with her one-sound-fits-all approach and the slow tempos needed to sustain that sound, this is a long way from Gluck getting his due. (Dennis Polkow)
2pm, Oct 8, 7: 30pm, Oct 14, 17, 20, 23, 27. Civic Opera House, Wacker Drive at Madison, (312)332-2244. $31-$179. Through Oct 27.