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Posted October 1, 2010
228 years ago, in 1780, Mozart composed this opera when he was 24. <BR/>The next year, on January 29 1781 the young maestro premiered Idomeneo (K366) in Munich and it was met with a great success. This is perhaps Mozart's first mature Opera Seria (serious) of a libretto written in Italian. <BR/><BR/>The opera was adapted from a French text by Antoine Danchet. In 1712 Andre Campra composed the first music and entitled it `'Idomenee"; King of Crete. <BR/><BR/>Encouraged by the Bavarian Archbishop Elector - Karl Theodor -, Mozart chose the libretto for a court carnival festivals marked by merrymaking and brisk processions. <BR/><BR/>With Idomeneo, Mozart established his supremacy in orchestral music that came with melodic lines and recitatives of complex vocal passages relating to narrative text whereby a singer delivers with distinctive rhythms of speech. So, here we have a `drama' plot given on a convivial occasion - the festivals. <BR/><BR/>One of Mozart's challenges was to contend with an average author of the libretto, the court clergyman Varesco. Mozart had to make large cuts and many modifications to Varesco's libretto because the singers did not appreciate to let out too many spoken vowel sounds that were not to their tastes. <BR/><BR/>Levine's interpretation is GREATWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
From the very first bars of the Overture, it is clear that James Levine and the Met Orchestra are a major force in this recording. All of the sturm und drang present in Mozart's opera seria is brought vividly to life in this top-notch production. Levine is clearly in complete command of the lengthy score and brings tremendous sound and energy to the work. Thankfully, he has assembled a veritable dream team of singers to complement his winning orchestra. Placido Domingo, in a rare Mozart appearence, takes the title role and copes manfully with the high written music, though it's a shame that the wonderful aria "fuor del mar" was cut down. It would have been nice to hear how Domingo would have dealt with the tricky coloratura. Cecilia Bartoli makes a very winning Idamante, a part written for a castrato, making the challenge of the strange tessitura sound like no challenge at all. She is well paired with soprano Heidi Grant Murphy as a charmingly girlish Illia. Thomas Hampson is allowed both of Arbace's magnificent arias and the listener is treated to what the great baritone's voice would have sounded like had he chosen to sing the dramatic tenor repertoire--not to be missed. Carol Vaness is a firey Elettra, her "d'Oreste, d'Ajace" at the end of the opera is quite dramatic. In a bit of luxury casting, Bryn Terfel arrives to lend his glorious bass-baritone to brief appearance of the Oracle near the end of the opera. Some of the recit probably should have been cut, but when you have singers of such quality then I guess you want your money's worth. This opera is likely to be most appreciated by devoted Mozarteans who will be delighted to hear the musical progressiveness Mozart wanted to bring to his audience. There are deffinitely hints of places to where Beethoven, Donizetti and Verdi would eventually take the operatic medium. If you are a fan on Mozart or if you just want to hear the composer let loose and try different harmonic structures, pick this up. Or of course you could just buy it for the tremendous singing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.