GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET: Idomeneo
Airs Sunday, July 30, 2017 at Noon on KPBS TV
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Credit: Courtesy of Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
Hear an extraordinary ensemble in Mozart’s early masterpiece of love and vengeance after the Trojan War.
Music Director Emeritus James Levine conducts an extraordinary ensemble in “Idomeneo,” Mozart’s early masterpiece of love and vengeance following the Trojan War on GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET on PBS.
Tenor Matthew Polenzani sings the title role of the King of Crete, with mezzo-soprano Alice Coote in the trouser role of his noble son Idamante, soprano Elza van den Heever as Elettra, and soprano Nadine Sierra as Ilia.
S44 Ep23: GP at the Met: Idomeneo Preview
The opera premiered at the Court Theater (now the Cuvilliés Theater) in Munich in 1781.
Like many stories from Greek myth, “Idomeneo” explores the motivations and emotions of humans whose fates seem beyond their own control.
S44 Ep23: Elettra's Tutte Nel Cor Vi Sento
The opera casts these issues within the framework of the opera seria genre, a stylized format popular in the 18th century that is characterized by a succession of arias and recitatives and a cast of noble characters.
Long neglected along with other works of this era, “Idomeneo” now holds a firm place in the repertoire as the first of Mozart’s operatic masterpieces.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was the son of a Salzburg court musician who exhibited him as a musical prodigy throughout Europe.
His achievements in opera, in terms of beauty, vocal challenge, and dramatic insight, remain unsurpassed.
Giovanni Battista Varesco (1735–1805) was a poet and the court chaplain of the Principality of Salzburg, Mozart’s place of employment at the time of "Idomeneo."
The opera is set on the island of Crete in the aftermath of the Trojan War.
The tales of this time have provided fertile grounds for creators of opera, from Monteverdi (“Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria,” 1640) to Berlioz (“Les Troyens,” 1863), to Richard Strauss (“Die Ägyptische Helena,” 1928), to Martin David Levy (“Mourning Becomes Electra,” 1967).
The era is evocative, reflecting the confusion of a post-traumatic historical moment.
Bass-baritone Eric Owens hosts the broadcast.
The New York Times proclaimed the production as “The Met Opera at its best. A high point of the season,” and observed that “Mr. Levine conducted, drawing a refined and affecting performance from the great Met orchestra.”
The Financial Times, in its five-star review, proclaimed that “Alice Coote exudes noble passion” and “Polenzani emerges utterly compelling in the royal title role.”
The Huffington Post opined that this was “(a) richly rewarding night of opera. Magnificent.”
S44 Ep23: Idomeneo's Fuor Del Mar
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S44 Ep23: Idomeneo Act III Quartet
For the Met, Barbara Willis Sweete directs the telecast. David Frost is music producer. Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are supervising producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are producers. Peter Gelb is executive producer.
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