Iphigenia in the Taurides

Biennial project 2018-2019
musical scenic diptych on the sacrifice of the innocents

2018 Iphigenia in Aulis
Ah! how sweet he is, but it is difficult
Ah! and sweet, but difficult
da Euripides e Gluck < Creation M.F. Masters and F. baby boy

2019 Iphigenia in the Taurides
I am mute
I'm mute
da Goethe e Gluck < Creation M.F. Masters and F. baby boy
with the patronage of the Goethe-Institut Mailand

In this new creative process – second chapter of the diptych dedicated to the myth of Iphigenia – the scenic installation and direction of Maria Federica Masters and the imagery of Francesco Pititto they are the result of a triple inspiration: Goethe's drama Iphigenia in Tauris (1787), Gluck's work Iphigenia in Tauride (1779) and the historic action of Joseph Beuys Titus Iphigenia of the 1969.

The visual framework on which the waters of the Black Sea crash on the shores of Tauride – the current Crimea – defines the horizon line that separates Iphigenia from her homeland and loved ones. Sola, exiled to a foreign land where inhuman customs exist, lives like a shadow in a sacred grove, silent guardian of the sanctuary dedicated to Diana, the goddess who, out of pity, had saved her years earlier from a tragic fate of death, innocent victim of his father's violence.

In the center of the scenic area, suspended between the metal branches of mechanical plants, in a clearly autobiographical reflection, the antlers of the doe sacrificed and slaughtered in place of the young one stand out. A small altar stands on the proscenium, a cold steel cutting board, on which a wash basin is placed to perform purification rituals: on that altar, disobeying laws that he deems unjust and inhumane, Iphigenia will not sacrifice any victims, he will not make any human sacrifice, but with an intimate and secret ritual she will beg the gods to return free and to be happy. Faced with their silence, confused and distressed, decides to dare a bold action and conquer a new homeland-body, free from social and religious constraints.

Symbols, rituals, autobiographical actions of the powerful performance of the 1969 of Joseph Beuys Titus-Iphigenia were inspirational forIphigenia in Tauride di Lenz. The performer's biography – Monica Barone – it has become aesthetic material for an action that makes one's physical condition public, your own state, one's own powerful will to transform the intimate gesture into redemption from divine imposition, of liberation from the political order. In opposition to the violence of Titus Andronicus for Beuys and that of the ferocious Thoas, tyrant of Tauris, nell’Iphigenia in Tauris by Goethe, Iphigenia's new real and conceptual gestures become an act of rebellion and revolt against social conventions and norms.

It is still biography that moves the body and life gives shape to the movement: Pina's Tanztheater has forever marked the choreographic language; the biographies of the dancers were essential to the "dance composer", as Bausch liked to define her work, to outline emotional states, gestures and movements, colors and musical writings in each work. Monica, motivated by a profound existential need, but especially for this one Iphigenia, brings herself and her life on stage, performs a contemporary ritual that still requires "dance", beyond the word, beyond the gesture, to be free to rewrite your own story, to “transform the world”, Beuys would have said.

To interpret Iphigenia in Tauride. I'm mute And Monica Barone, dancer endowed with great performative sensitivity developed in the relationship with her own physical specificity. Despite the numerous facial surgeries he had to undergo from early childhood, Monica cultivates and practices the languages ​​of contemporary dance and photography with discipline and passion. She recently performed Beatrice in the large site-specific installation of Paradiso di Lenz (2017).


In the center of the scenic area, suspended between the metal branches of mechanical plants, the antlers of the doe sacrificed in place of Iphigenia stand out, the day the father – Agamemnon – to propitiate the departure of the ships towards Troy, he had decided to slaughter his daughter.

On the bottom, also hanging from a metal tripod, a column broken into two sections, memory and omen of the ruin of the father's house; a chain of violent deaths has in fact bloodied the Atrides lineage: Clytemnestra, mother of Iphigenia, to avenge her daughter's death she killed her husband, his son Orestes killed his mother to avenge his father's death, driven mad by the Furies, he wanders desperately in search of his own conscience. In atonement for the crime, driven by Apollo he will land in Tauris with his friend Pylades to steal the statue of Diana kept in the sanctuary and bring it back to Greece to pacify the gods.

From the place of sacred functions to the place of intimate life. To the side in Iphigenia's room a record player plays Gluck's opera of the same name – Iphigenia in Tauride – in a version recorded on vinyl recorded in the sixties. The change of the disc marks the original narrative path and the poetic time of Iphigenia's life.

On a small altar, a cold steel cutting board, a lavatory is placed to perform purification rituals: on that altar Iphigenia, disobeying laws that he deems unjust and inhumane, he will not sacrifice any victim, he will not make any human sacrifice, but with an intimate and secret ritual she will beg the gods to return free and to be happy. Faced with their silence, confused and distressed, Iphigenia decides to dare a bold action and conquer a new homeland-body free from social and religious constraints.

Biographical notes

Lenz Foundation | Maria Federica Maestri and Francesco Pititto
Lenz's artistic history is an incessant one, continuous investigative work on contemporary language. In the first phase of their creative journey, Maria Federica Maestri and Francesco Pititto explored the key dramaturgy of Western culture, retranscribing its poetic impulses into contemporary actions. In a more recent phase, artists have placed visual and plastic research at the center of their poetics. The performative action is wedged between writing for images and the plastic creation of space, which no longer has the functional limits of the scene but tends to be a real art installation. The density of performative work is symmetrical to the intensity, exceptionality, uniqueness of the interpreters, not just actors, but artistic reagents of the creative text. They also remain in this recent phase, references to monumental dramaturgical nuclei, but they are used as grammatical and not syntactic devices, they do not underlie the form of the composition.

Büchner, Hölderlin, Lenz, Kleist, Rilke, Dostoevsky, Mayakovsky, Shakespeare, Goethe, Grimm, Andersen, Calderón de la Barca, Genet, Lorca, Bacchini, Ovidio, Virgilio, Manzoni, d'Annunzio, Ariosto, Dante, Euripides, Aeschylus, Verdi, Gluck: these are the authors who have marked Lenz's monographic and multi-year projects, from 1985. The recent contemporary performative creation projects are the artistic result of in-depth visual research, filmic, space, dramaturgical and sound.

In an aesthetic convergence between exegetical fidelity to the word of the text, visual radicality of film creation, originality and conceptual extremism of the artistic installation, Lenz's work rewrites the philosophical tensions and aesthetic anxieties of contemporaneity in visionary signs.

Translation, dramaturgical rewriting, imagoturgy of the works are by Francesco Pititto, who directs it together with Maria Federica Maestri. The scenic installations and costumes are created by Maria Federica Maestri, noted by critics for her work of "dramaturgy of matter", for the system of visual signs that constitute his very personal "design-acted".

Monica Barone
Caracas is born (Venezuela) In the 1972. Graduated from the Paolo Toschi Art Institute in Parma (today Art High School) and graduated from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan in 2006, He made his debut in Milan in 2000 as a visual artist at Contemporary Art, with a series of photographic images, included in the solo show 'Il Corno d'Argento’ edited by Luciano Inga Pin (2000) and subsequently again on display in a solo exhibition included in the 'Artintype’ edited by Martintype graphic arts, in collaboration with the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. The same works were published in the Corriere della Sera 'Photography the strength of non-conformism’ (October 2000) and in the magazine Ballettanz (Berlin, August September 2004).

In particular, with Laura Banfi and Nadia Pedrazzini he will begin working on the project for a show 'Sull'ammore’ (2012) and later interpreter of the performances 'Lei’ (2012) and in various impromptu performances through contact improvisation (2013). Participate, independently, to the ACT#1 project (Roma Fashion Week July 2006). He later collaborated with the C.I.M.D. (International Center for Movement and Dance) in promoting workshops in schools (2010-11).

Ha partecipato allo spettacolo ‘Paradiso. A sacred piece’ by Giuseppe Verdi and Dante Alighieri, site-specific installation special commission of the Verdi Festival in Parma, directed by Maria Federica Maestri and dramaturgy and imagoturgy by Francesco Pititto (October 2017). È interprete nel solo di danzaIphigenia in Tauride_Ich bin stumm_Io sono muta” directed by Maria Federica Maestri and dramaturgy and imagoturgy by Francesco Pititto (2018). In the 2022 realizza la sua la prima performance interamente scritta e diretta da se stessa, prodotta da Lenz Fondazione all’interno di “Relatives”, progetto Lenz 2022_2024 “Geosophie and Bestiary, BESTIARY | Female Animal”, a cura di Maria Federica Maestri e Francesco Pititto, who intends to seek intellectual and emotional partnerships between artists*, with the aim of exploring new natural-cultural performative models, hybridizing philosophy, mythology, sciences and arts. “Human Inhuman Posthuman” è stato presentato dopo due settimane di residenza artistica presso Lenz Teatro, in versione site-specific all’interno degli spazi storici e museali del Museo di Storia Naturale di Parma. In the 2023 è stato selezionato come progetto vincitore di Open Dialogo Residenze d’Artista, jointly commissioned by Arts Council England, by the General Directorate for Entertainment of the Ministry of Culture, by the Italian Cultural Institute of London and the British Council. In the 2024 è co-autrice insieme a Maria Federica Maestri di “Over Gina Pane_4 Sentimental Actions” all’interno della mostraContemporanea. Capolavori dalle collezioni private di Parmapresso il Palazzo del Governatore di Parma.


Training. Dal 1988 al 1994 studies dance theater with Lucia Perego, Thierry Parmentier, Michele Abbondanza, Antonella Bertoni, Roberto Castello, Giorgio Rossi, Larrio Exxon, but above all from 1998 al 2005 contact improvisation con Gabriela Morales, Jess Curtis, Lisa Nelson, Daniel Lephkoff, contact art with Laura Banfi, Nadia Pedrazzini, Roberto Lun. The prelude to contact improvisation will be the course of studies with Luisa Casiraghi (1993-1996) through which he will learn an approach to dance more focused on the 'person-dancer', considered in its totality’ physical-mental-emotional, together with dynamic and fluid earthwork (D.S.T. Dinamic Stick Technique, dance technique with Aikido elements included). The experience of a natural movement in dance continues in contact improvisation and in the study of the languages ​​derived from it, come la Danceability (improvisation performance technique practiced by able-bodied and disabled people, who has been studying with Laura Banfi and Alito Alessi since 2001 al 2002). She will later study contemporary dance with Tino Schepis and more recently with Monica Bianchi. Dal 2012 practice Yoga and meditation with Nicoletta Ronconi.

Iphigenia in the Taurides
I am mute (I'm mute)

Since Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Christoph Willibald Gluck

Text and imagery | Francesco Pititto
Installation, regia, costumes | Maria Federica Masters
Interpreter | Monica Barone
Choreographic notations | David Rocchi

Treatment | Elena Sorbi
Organization | Ilaria Stocchi
Press office, communication | Elisa Barbieri
Diffusion, promotion | Alessandro Conti
Technical care | Alice Scartapacchio
Media video | Doruntina Film
Assistant | Giulia Mangini

Production | Lenz Foundation

with the patronage of Goethe-Institut Mailand

Duration | 45 minutes


whole wheat:

site-specific version at the Villetta Monumental Cemetery in Parma:

With a vigorous look, Maestri and Pititto trace a geography of absolute passions in a single interpreter, not determinable in a historical time, restoring its ritual dimension to an essential dance of gestures. (more)

Giuseppe Distefano, Exibart


If the energy of the actor, and of the actor-shaman, it has to do with non-everyday psychophysical states, here we have the epiphany of bodies that spontaneously embody that energy and are therefore able to theatrically shake the spectator with the pure force of their presence alone, naturally disciplined and modeled on stage by the relationship with director Maria Federica Maestri. (more)

Franco Acquaviva, Curtain


The viewer is welcomed by a minimalist scenography based on a suggestive conceptual and visual synecdoche that creates a hybrid setting between dream and obsession. The horns of the doe sacrificed in place of the woman swing like a warning attached to a thin mechanical stand and the temple of Artemis is also evoked by two columns suspended from a similar mechanism. In a corner, a mysterious altar stands out, dominated by a transparent basin, sacred premonition of the post-modern ritual that will be carried out in the following ones 45 minutes. (more)

Emanuela Zanon, Juliet Art Magazine


The dancer Monica Barone, whose singularity in diversity is capable of becoming a metaphor for the singularity that establishes our existence of Heideggerianly marked paths in the forest, faces the recovery of oneself in places that have seen the fracture and caesura with the world. It's a return to a new world but that, inside her, it has always existed, unaware perhaps, has always knocked on the conscience. A path that makes her a companion, more than guide, because his steps, overlapping, become ours. (more)

Maria Dolores Pesce, dramma.it


The Iphigenia of Lenz Foundation has a quality that can perhaps be defined as “metaphysical”. The transformations of women do not take place with the real and concrete means of word or action. Iphigenia always transforms herself by sinking into an image and embodying the vision on her sensitive body, which thus suddenly becomes poetic and free. (more)

Enrico Piergiacomi, University of Trento


Skip to content