This production of Idomeneo sees the return of the powerful tenor Russell Thomas and the incomparable musicAeterna choir. Once again, the rage and desperation of refugees, violence, trauma, unfinished wars and now environmental degradation surge through the beautiful music.
Following the example laid down by Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey, by Aeschylus in the Oresteia and by Sophocles in his Electra, Mozart uses Idomeneo to question the very foundations of patriarchy, to recognize that no war is over without a deep and difficult process of reconciliation and that human hatred, resentment and psychological damage need to be addressed, acknowledged and gradually healed. The image of the power-holding generation sacrificing future generations remains all too vivid in our time, and the ongoing intergenerational conflict is exemplified in the classic characters of Ilia, Elettra and Idamante.
Idomeneo concludes with the non-violent overthrow of a warrior king who operates in paranoia and secrecy by a benevolent, liberating prince who operates through consensus and inclusion. Idomeneo could be considered an initiatory opera, foreshadowing the utopian Zauberflöte, as it traces the path of a young generation of men and women facing their own fears and public and personal trials to discover a deeper level of equilibrium and understanding that prepares them for leadership.
In this opera, the super-natural element is in fact the natural world: the god Neptune and the sea he embodies as an ancestral force for both healing and destruction inundates the human race with questions of moral reckoning. It is the angry oceans who respond to human violations of a larger, cosmic code. This overwhelming masterpiece by the impatient and supremely gifted young Mozart raises urgent questions related to climate change and its impact on oceans and populations: are we cutting off a future by being in denial about pollution and global warming? Is a younger generation being sacrificed by a previous generation which is refusing to deal with reality in the present tense? Is there a younger generation that is now ready for leadership?
Text by Antonio Cuenca Ruiz, Dramatic Advisor
Russell Thomas, Idomeneo
Paula Murrihy, Idamante
Ying Fang, Ilia
Nicole Chevalier, Elettra
Levy Sekgapane, Arbace
Issachah Savage, Gran Sacerdote
Jonathan Lemalu, Nettuno / La voce
David Steffens, Bass-Solo from Thamos, King of Egypt
Brittne Mahealani Fuimaono, Arikitau Tentau, Dancers
Peter Sellars, stage director
musicAeterna Choir of Perm Opera
Vitaly Polonsky, chorus master
Teodor Currentzis, conductor