Dramma per musica in three acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Libretto by Giambattista Varesco
In Italian with German and English surtitles. Duration 3 H. 05 Min. incl. interval after 1st part after approx. 1 H. 35 Min. Introduction 45 min before the performance.
Introductory matinee on 21 Jan 2018.
With the kind support of the René und Susanne Braginsky-Stiftung
It is probably Mozart’s most personal work: Idomeneo, premièred in Munich in 1781. Mozart had not written any opera since his Salzburg production of Il Re pastore of 1775, but now the sluice gates were open: no longer a child prodigy, just about to break away from his father and assert himself as a freelance musician, with Idomeneo Mozart wrote not only his most unconventional and musically substantial, but also his most profound opera score. Arguably, in no other of Mozart’s works for the stage are the figures so at odds with themselves and confronted with their own human weaknesses and emotional instability as in Idomeneo.
First and foremost, of course, is Idomeneo, King of Crete, whose ship, homeward bound after the Trojan War, runs into trouble. Idomeneo swears the fatal oath to the god Neptune that he will sacrifice the first man he encounters if he is saved. It is his own son, Idamante. Tormented by guilt, but unable to contest the oath, Idomeneo is ultimately prepared to take matters to their extreme conclusion. Idamante, who is about to succeed Idomeneo as king, is traumatised by his father’s rejection. For her part, Ilia, the Trojan princess who has lost her parents and her country in the war, suffers great inner conflict due to her love for Idamante, an enemy of her people. Nonetheless, it is the outsider who points the way out of this horrifying dilemma with the power of love. Ultimately, Mozart has his figures become autonomous human beings who overcome antiquated structures.
We were fortunate in being able to engage Giovanni Antonini, one of the exciting conductors of the classical repertoire, for our new production. We look forward to another encounter with Joseph Kaiser as Idomeneo. Anna Stéphany will take on the role of Idamante, and the young soprano Hanna-Elisabeth Müller can be heard as Ilia – her first performance in an operatic production at Zurich Opera. All three soloists will be giving débuts in their respective roles. Director Jetske Mijnssen, who recently impressed audiences with Haydn’s Orlando paladino, will be staging this exceptional work, which the musicologist Alfred Einstein once described as an “incredibly audacious drama in operatic form.”