Dramma per musica in three acts K. 366 (1780/81)
Libretto: Giambattista Varesco
Written for the court of Munich in 1780/81, "Idomeneo" is often regarded as the first of the seven undisputed masterworks in Mozart’s dramatic oeuvre. Never before had he cast such bold, impassioned music into a dramatic form or devised such a well-calibrated dramaturgy. Was it the plot that drove Mozart to such extremes of expressive power? The story evokes countless of the ropera seria objects: King Idomeneo has promised to sacrifice to Neptune the first person he meets if he is saved from shipwreck; this turns out to be his son Idamante, who stands between two women, the Trojan Princess Ilia whom he loves, and the Greek princess Elettra who loves him. Four people on the edge of the abyss, drawn together by passion torn apart by reasons of state.
Though respecting the tenets of opera seria, Mozart repeatedly burst out of the rigid corset of the genre. Arias are heightened by unexpected twists and turns, accompagnato recitatives reach unheard-of levels of jagged emotional rawness, and stereotyped set pieces such as the vengeance become entire scenes in themselves. Mozart also treats the instruments in a far more liberal and imag- inative manner than ever before, blending the voices with solo instruments and creating new tone colors that prefigure the Romantic era.
Ramón Vargas, Idomeneo
Magdalene Kožená, Idamante
Ekaterina Siurina, Ilia
Anja Harteros, Elettra
Jeffrey Francis, Arbace
Sir Roger Norrington, conductor
Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann, stage director
Thomas Grimm, video director
Recording dates: 20.08.| 24.08.| 27.08.2006
Venue: House for Mozart