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Cat. No. CHAN 3103(2) Price: £18 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 3103 - Mozart: Idomeneo
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Available From: 12 January 2004
King Idomeneus (Idomeneo), is overtaken by a storm as he returns to Crete from the Trojan Wars, and promises that if he is granted safe passage home, he will sacrifice to Poseidon the first living thing on dry land he sees. On the shore he meets Idamante, his own son. Horrified, the king instructs him to flee to Argos with Electra (Agamemnonís daughter). Electra is in love with Idamante and readily agrees, although Idamante is secretly in love with Ilia, the daughter of King Priam, a prisoner on Crete. Poseidon sends a sea monster to Idomeneo to remind him of his vow, but Idamante slays the monster. Ilia offers to sacrifice herself in Idamanteís stead and Poseidon relents.

The writing of Idomeneo was hampered by a number of difficulties Ė the poorly constructed libretto, the need to compose for a castrato, and the sixty-seven-year-old tenor in the title role who insisted that his arias be completely rewritten. There is much that is old-fashioned in the opera Ė arias are strictly segregated by passages of recitative and there are a number of coloratura arias which invite the singer to improvise, making the work one of Mozartís few surviving operas conceived for celebrities who were out to impress.

Yet the opera is remarkable for its orchestral and choral writing and some passages, such as the storm in Act II and the Oracle scene, are of a richness unsurpassed by his later operas. Idomeneo was for many years overshadowed by Mozartís glorious comedies but is today thought by many to be the greatest opera seria ever written.
Reviews

Rebecca Evanss Ilia is all one expects from this lovely soprano, the voice pure, intonation secure and musicianship impeccable.
The Sunday Telegraph

Elements of a 2003 Opera North production linger in this recording, to its advantage. Clive Bayley is an imposing Voice of Neptune, Ryland Davies a masterly Arbrace, and the companys orchestra and chorus are both strong.
BBC Music Magazine

Its a coup for Chandos to have secured the great Nicolai Gedda as the high priest. Hes 78 this year, but stills sounds authoritative' and Bruce Fords Idomeneo is probably the best around today in any language. His English diction is immaculate.
Sunday Times

This is a notable addition to Chandos Opera in English series.
The Sunday Telegraph

This latest issue in Chandos Opera in English series boasts an extraordinary Idomeneo in Bruce Ford. The American tenor performs with unfailing musical scrupulousness, vocal flexibility and crystaline textural projection.
International Record Review

The performance, though, is, by and large, excellent, with the confrontation between Bruce Fords Idomeneo and Diana Montagues Idamente generating tremendous power, and Susan Pattersons Elettra declining into insanity with frightening vividness.
The Guardian

 

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