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Mozart - Idomeneo Remastered

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Luciano Pavarotti, Ilena Cotrubas, and Frederica Von Stade star in this 1982 Metropolitan Opera production of the Mozart opera, conducted by James Levine and directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Luciano Pavarotti, Hildegard Behrens, Frederica von Stade, Ileana Cotrubas, John Alexander
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, NTSC, Subtitled, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Italian (DTS 5.1), Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Chinese, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: April 11, 2006
  • Run Time: 185 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E5KOJI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,799 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mozart - Idomeneo Remastered" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Birman TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 15, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Following Mozart's final youthful opera, Il re pastore, which was composed in 1775 (see the fine new DVD performance from Salzburg conducted by Neville Marriner), Mozart received no new operatic commissions (other than the fragment Zaide) until 1780-81. He spent those 5 years internalising all of European music, always yearning to write opera, always searching for a good libretto and a new commission. Idomeneo was finally commissioned for Munich by Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria, and premiered in Munich in 1781. Although theoretically an example of opera seria, Idomeneo should more properly be considered embryonic Grand Opera. There is something Verdian about this great dramatic masterpiece. Idomeneo is a true tragic hero: literally buffeted by fate in a sea-storm, he is placed in the untenable position of saving himself by promising Neptune he would sacrifice the first living creature he met upon returning home to Crete. He has a chance meeting with Idamante, who has been roaming the shore. Idomeneo, less than thrilled by this random encounter, reacts even more coolly after recognizing his son, now grown. Idamante, dismayed by his father's puzzling lack of affection, is also beset by amorous issues: he is loved by the proud princess Electra, but he is in love with a Trojan princess, Ilia, who rejects him. Ilia was sent to Crete, along with other prisoners of war, by Idomeneo in advance of his return from Troy. Neptune's impatience for a sacrifice, the intricacies of love and ambition, the nature of power and fate, all make up the fabric of Mozart's Grand Opera. It is unquestionably a masterpiece.

This makes Idomeneo's subsequent performance history particularly puzzling.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is an excellent video recording of a ravishing Metropolitan Opera production from 1982. All the major components of a great success are here. Fine conducting as ever from James Levine, the always excellent orchestra and chorus of the Met, stunning sets, costumes, lighting and production, and five defining performances from the lead singers. The bouquets really must go to the ladies, all three of them in their prime, singing marvellously well and looking quite delightful. The beautifully sung and exquisitly realised Ilia of Ileana Cotrubas is breathtakingly lovely. Every phrase seems suffused with meaning, every note with lyrical beauty. What an advantage to have a Trojan Princess of such physical grace and beauty when paired with the splendidly sung and incredibly handsome Idamante of Frederica von Stade. The two lovers duet with utter beauty and conviction providing a wonderful example of real Mozartian singing at its best. Hildegard Behrens completes the trio, an inspired piece of casting this. She looks and sounds quite (rightly) bonkers, and her awesome stage prescence, vocal power and dramatic intensity bring this lovelorn daughter of Agamemnon to intense and exciting life. John Alexander sings the hideously difficult part of Arbace with great skill and beauty and, surprisingly to me, Luciano Pavarotti sings the title role really very well. I had not considered him a natural Mozartian before, and I was charmed with his restrained and careful performance. I can't understand why this performance is not available on DVD as I gather this recording is one of the Met's biggest sellers. I live in hope.
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Format: VHS Tape
Odd that this excellent release has not received a singlereview so far. Idomeneo is Mozart's first master opera, the first ofseven "operatic miracles" that he composed in the lastdecade of his life. His early contributions to the genre are alsoextraordinary works: Il Re Pastore, Mitridate, La Finta Giardinieraetc. But it is generally agreed that with Idomeneo he reached hismaturity as an opera composer. It is a powerful, dense, very dramaticwork with beautiful arias. And this is a very good rendition of thismasterwork. I liked the set and staging and the arias are beautifullysung. The opera is sung in the original Italian with Englishsubtitles and the synopsis provided comes in handy to understand theplot. I always thought that James Levine definitely understandsMozart: the arias and recitatives are never too fast, the way I thinkMozart should be played, which enhances the dramatic element and thebeauty of those arias of supreme inspiration. Ok, so I tried to fillthe gap....
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Idomeneo was Mozart's first great opera. It was written for Munich, which was home to one of the finest orchestras of the day; that this fired Mozart's imagination can be heard in the very colorful orchestral writing. He was composing for excellent singers that he knew well and liked, and the lead roles are tailored to their particular skills. Mozart was also determined to elevate the stilted, formulaic opera seria for to the level of real drama, and to a large extent he succeeded. For the first time his music limns the characters with real life and personality. Mozart lavished great care on both the musical numbers and the recitative, and there is an unusually large amount of accompanied recitative, which is wonderfully flexible and expressive. There is also a move toward greater dramatic continuity; many musical numbers lead directly into the ensuing recitative without coming to a full close, a very forward-looking concept.
The opera presents two major problems for modern staging. The first is that the role of Idamante was written for a castrato, a voice type used regularly in Baroque opera, but which was already becoming rare in Mozart's time, and which we cannot begin to approximate today. The old solution for a castrato role was to transpose the music down and assign it to a male singer. In fact, Mozart did this himself. For a later Vienna production there were no adequate castrati available, and Idamante's part was rewritten for tenor. A castrato part can be taken by a countertenor in a small house, but today these parts are usually sung by women. This creates obvious problems of dramatic verisimilitude, especially since most castrato parts are heroic male characters. In this production Idamante is sung by Frederica Von Stade, who made something of a specialty of trouser roles.
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