Notes and Editorial Reviews
When Mozart set the classic story of Idomeneo to music, he had impressive musical and theatrical resources at his disposal. Yet the premier at Munich's Hoftheater in 1781 was hardly a resounding success, and the exorbitant cast and production that the opera called for subsequently prevented it from being performed more often. The composer's own cuts and re-workings were followed by further adaptations right into the 20th century. Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt was the first conductor to make use of the original score: his 1972 Electrola recording offers an excellent set of soloists in an Idomeneo performed in its entire length and splendor for the first time in nearly 200 years. In this recording, the role of Idomeneo is sung by tenor Nicolai
Gedda. Soprano Anneliese Rothenberger performs alongside Gedda as his love interest, Ilia.
Idomeneo takes place in approximately 1200 BC on the Mediterranean island of Crete. The opera tells the story of forbidden love between Ilia, the daughter of King Priam of Troy, and Idamante, the son of the Idomeneo, the leader of the Cretans. Shipwrecked after the defeat of Troy, Idomeneo receives orders from Neptune to sacrifice the first living soul he meets, which happens to be his estranged son, Idamante. Rather than sacrifice Idamante, Idomeneo banishes him from Crete. Idamante refuses to leave the island instead and offers himself as a sacrifice. When Idomeneo is about to kill his own son, Ilia intervenes and offers her life instead. At the moment of sacrifice, the voice of Neptune declares that Idomeneo must yield his throne to Ilia and Idamante, uniting the two forbidden lovers.
Works on This Recording
Idomeneo, K 366 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Adolf Dallapozza (Tenor),
Nicolai Gedda (Tenor),
Anneliese Rothenberger (Soprano),
Edda Moser (Soprano),
Peter Schreier (Tenor),
Theo Adam (Baritone)
Leipzig Radio Chorus,
Written: 1781; Munich, Germany
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