With this wonderful production, Mozart's 'Munich' opera returns to the place where it was first performed in 1781, the lovingly restored Cuvilliés Theatre, a veritable jewel of Rococo architecture. In Dieter Dorn's production, the characters are real people of flesh and blood, their emotions and conflicts intelligible to every member of the audience. The cast includes some of the finest Mozart singers of our day, headed by British tenor John Mark Ainsley in the title role, while Kent Nagano in the orchestra pit appears to unleash an elemental force of nature.
"In the title role, John Mark Ainsley was impressive as the distraught king; the final scene between father and son (before the gods happily offer a last-minute sacrificial reprieve) was gripping… In Dieter Dorn’s stark, modernist production, a startling contrast with the Cuvilliés’ lavish Rococo interior, the stage turned green, and black-clad male Furies ripped off Elettra’s red velvet dress and dragged her away. In an earlier scene Rainer Trost, convincing as Arbace (Idomeneo’s loyal sidekick), sat cutting himself, blood dripping all over as he offered to sacrifice himself to the gods. The Chorus of the Bavarian State Opera sounded excellent and was intelligently deployed, wearing bright African prints that brightened the bleak sets.While singing “Placido è il Mar” the chorus members wore blue robes and stood on white bleachers. Other decorative touches included a red broken head of a Trojan horse, a blood-smeared wall and a black Halloween pumpkinlike mask that filled with flames when Idamante slayed the monster.The voice of the Oracle came thundering through unseen from the back of the theater in one particularly effective moment. Kent Nagano conducted the small orchestra in a lithe, bristling reading that illustrated the drama of the score. At the end of the last act, when Idamante is spared and reunited with Ilia, the orchestra was mechanically lifted to stage level. It was a worthy homecoming for “Idomeneo.” New York Times
“...marvellously sung. John Mark Ainsley is an authoritative Idomeneo, but it is Julianne Banse one especially remembers for her lovely singing as Ilia...Annette Dasch is a properly fiery Elettra...Nagano conducts the Bavarian Chorus and Orchestra with plenty of spirit (the storm chorus is especially riveting)”
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