Saturday, 2 August 2008

136. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Idomeneo, re di Creta (1781)


Title: Idomeneo
Performer: Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Anne Sofie Von Otter
Director: John Eliot Gardiner
Year: 1990
Length: 3 hours


Mozart seems to have been aware of Gluck's reformation operas, this is quite clear here, but still there is a particular shine to Mozart's work that is really not present in Gluck. And it is this colourful touch for orchestration and working with voices that makes this opera better than any of the Gluck ones, even if it feels at times more archaic in it's use of secco recitatives.

Gluck was better at making the opera's movements seamless, Mozart was better at making them spectacular. Look at the Quartet of the last Act for example, or the amazing Choir work.

So the libretto isn't that amazing, but Mozart does the best he can with it, and in the end it is very enjoyable with a lot of catchy arias which are also a bit more "da capo-y" than Gluck's. So not as revolutionary as Gluck here, but more enjoyable.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

It was first performed at the Cuvilliés Theatre of the Residenz in Munich on January 29, 1781. Written when the composer was 24, Idomeneo was Mozart's first mature opera seria, and with it he demonstrated his mastery of orchestral color, accompanied recitatives, and melodic line. In certain respects (e.g., the choirs), however, this opera is still an experimental drama, resulting more in a sequence of sets than in a well developed plot. Mozart also had to fight with the mediocre author of the libretto, the court chaplain Varesco, making large cuts and changes, even down to specific words and vowels disliked by the singers (too many "i"s in "rinvigorir")

Electra's final aria:

No comments: