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“The highlight of Gardiner's cycle of the mature Mozart operas. Dramatically vivid with some magnificent performances from a superb cast, and thrilling playing by the English Baroque Soloists.”
“Here's a performance that blends this conductor's love of scholarship with an unerring sense of theatre. The English Baroque Soloists are magnificent in a work that puts the chorus only one step below the principals.”
Good CD Guide
“This is unquestionably the most vital and authentic account of Idomeneo to date on disc. The recording catches the excitement which all who heard the live performance will recall.”
“This is unquestionably the most vital and authentic account of Idomeneo to date on disc (though see the more recent review of the Mackerras set below). We have here what was given at the work's first performance in Munich plus, in appendices, what Mozart wanted, or was forced, to cut before that premiere and the alternative versions of certain passages, so that various combinations of the piece can be programmed by the listener. Gardiner's direct, dramatic conducting catches ideally the agony of Idomeneo's terrible predicament-– -forced to sacrifice his son because of an unwise row. This torment of the soul is also entirely conveyed by Anthony Rolfe Johnson in the title role to which Anne Sofie von Otter's moving Idamante is an apt foil. Sylvia McNair is a diaphanous, pure-voiced Ilia, Hillevi Martinpelto a properly fiery, sharp-edged Elettra. With dedicated support from his own choir and orchestra, who obviously benefited from a long period of preparation, Gardiner matches the stature of this noble opera seria. The recording catches the excitement which all who heard the live performances will recall.”
“Gardiner's Mozartian style is well sprung and subtly moulded rather than severe. The principals sing beautifully...The electrifying singing of the Monteverdi Choir adds to the dramatic bite.”
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