WATCH | LISTEN

 

FEATURED CONCERT

Mozart, Idomeneo Quartet andro ramingo e solo Act III

 

OPERA

Idomeneo

COMPOSER:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - German
January 27, 1756 – 5 December 5, 1791 

SYNOPSIS: (Concert Excerpted from Act III)

ACT I. Sidon, capital of the island of Crete. Ilia, daughter of King Priam, reflects on the defeat of Troy, which she never will see again, and on her love for Prince Idamante, son of Idomeneo, which she hesitates to acknowledge. Soon Idamante comes to free the Trojan prisoners. Saddened by Ilia's rejection of his love, he tells her it is not his fault that their fathers were enemies. Trojans and Cretans alike welcome the return of peace, but Elettra, jealous of Ilia, rushes in to protest Idamante's clemency toward the enemy prisoners. Arbace, the king's confidant, interrupts with the news that Idomeneo has been lost at sea on his return voyage. Elettra, fearing that a Trojan soon will be Queen of Crete, feels the furies of Hades tormenting her.

On a deserted seashore, the shipwrecked Idomeneo recalls the vow he foolishly made to Neptune - to sacrifice, if he were spared, the first living creature he meets on shore. Idamante approaches him, but because the two have not seen each other since the son's infancy, recognition is slow. When Idomeneo realizes the youth is his own child, he orders Idamante never to seek him out. Grief-stricken by his father's rejection, Idamante runs off. Cretan troops disembarking from Idomeneo's ship are met by their wives, and all sing the praises of Neptune, who will be honored with a sacrifice.

ACT II. At the palace, Idomeneo seeks counsel from Arbace, who says a substitute could be sacrificed if Idamante went into exile immediately. Idomeneo orders his son to escort Elettra home to Greece. Ilia then greets Idomeneo, whose kind words move her to declare that since she has lost everything, he will be her father and Crete her country. As she leaves, Idomeneo realizes his deliverance has cost Ilia her happiness as well as his own. Saved at sea, he now finds a tempest raging in his own bosom. Elettra welcomes the idea of going to Argos with Idamante, voicing her love for him.

At the port of Sidon, Idomeneo bids his son farewell and urges him to learn the art of ruling while he is away. Before the ship can sail, however, a storm breaks out, and a sea serpent appears among the waves. Recognizing it as a messenger from Neptune, the king offers himself as atonement for having defaulted in his bargain with the sea god.

ACT III. In the royal garden, Ilia asks the breezes to carry her love to Idamante, who appears, explaining that the serpent is wreaking havoc in the countryside and that he must go to fight it. When he says he may as well die as suffer the torments of unrequited love, Ilia confesses her love. They are surprised by Elettra and Idomeneo. When Idamante asks his father why he shuns him and sends him away, Idomeneo can reply only that the youth must leave. Ilia asks for consolation from Elettra, who is preoccupied with revenge. Arbace comes with news that the people, led by the High Priest of Neptune, are clamoring for Idomeneo. The High Priest tells the king of the destruction wrought in the land by Neptune's monster, exhorting Idomeneo to reveal the name of the person whose sacrifice is demanded by the god. When the king confesses that his own son is the victim, the populace is horrified.

Outside the temple, the king and High Priest join with Neptune's priests in prayer that the god may be appeased. Arbace announces that Idamante has succeeded in killing the monster. As Idomeneo fears new reprisals from Neptune, Idamante enters in sacrificial robes, saying he at last understands his father's dilemma and is ready to die. After an agonizing farewell, Idomeneo is about to sacrifice his son when Ilia intervenes, offering her own life instead. The oracular Voice of Neptune is heard. Idomeneo must yield the throne to Ilia and Idamante. Everyone is relieved except Elettra, who longs for her own death. Idomeneo presents Idamante and his bride as the new rulers. The people call upon the god of love and marriage to bless the royal pair and bring peace.

-- courtesy of Opera News

From The Metropolitan Opera