Opera Abbreviated Podcast: Idomeneo

Mar 21, 2017

The Metropolitan Opera's next performance of Mozart's Idomeneo will be seen Live in HD in cinemas all over the world at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 25.

Opera Abbreviated presents a 10-minute podcast, giving you my take on this great opera seria.

Mozart wrote Idomeneo for Munich's carnival season. Special effects, large choruses, pomp, emotion and a happy ending were all expected—and delivered.

Mozart's correspondence with his father, especially dating from 1781 until Papa's death in 1787, is filled with love, recriminations, arguments, more love and wonderful discussions about music. Here's Papa's advice for the sea monster and offstage voice of the Oracle, the deus ex machina:

"I assume you will use very deep wind instruments to accompany the subterranean voice. How would it be if after the slight subterranean rumble the instruments sustained, or rather began to sustain, their notes piano and then made a crescendo such as might inspire terror, while after this and during the decrescendo the voice would begin to sing? And there might be a terrifying crescendo at every phrase uttered by the voice. Why, I seem to see and hear it!"

Will you hear it? Find the cinema nearest you and be there at 1 p.m. this Saturday. You'll have a splendid musical and dramatic adventure, with sets and direction by the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, conducted by James Levine.