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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Mozart: Idomemeo

10/07/2012 1:00 pm
10/07/2012 4:30 pm


Host Keith Brown writes:

Idomeneo was Mozart's first mature masterwork of opera, first staged in Munich in 1781. I have presented Idomeneo four times before, utilizing two recordings that were historic oldies-but-goodies and two that were in the newer, historically informed practice.

John Eliot Gardiner was certainly in the lead of conductors who specialized in authentic eighteenth century style. Gardiner recorded Idomeneo in live but unstaged concert performance in London in 1990. Deutsche Grammophon issued it originally on three CD's in its Archiv line in 1991. Gardiner directed the period instrument ensemble he founded, the English Baroque Soloists, who were joined by their usual choral partner, the Monteverdi Choir. 

This is the musically complete Italian language opera seria. Mozart's ballet music at the end of the staged proceedings has not been cut, as was often the case in older recordings. Specialists in eighteenth century vocal practice took part in Gardiner's Idomeneo: tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson in the title role, with soprano Anne Sophie von Otter as Idamante. I last broadcast the Gardiner Idomeneo on Sunday, October 16, 1994. That, now in some sense, "historic" recording has been taken up into a compilation boxed set of all the Mozart opera recordings Gardiner made over the years. His "classic" interpretation now occupies three discs in the 18 CD DGG Archiv package. From that same boxed set I broadcast the Gardiner Cosi Fan Tutte on Sunday, July 22nd of this year.