James Levine conducts a rare Met revival of Mozart’s Idomeneo, set in the aftermath of the Trojan War. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s classic production, which has its first Met revival in over a decade this season, stars Matthew Polenzani in the title role. The cast also includes Elza van den Heever as Elettra, Nadine Sierra as Ilia, Alice Coote as Idamante, and Alan Opie as Arbace.
Premiere: Court Theater (now the Cuvilliés Theater), Munich, 1781. Like many stories from Greek myth, Idomeneo explores the motivations and emotions of humans whose fates seem beyond their own control. The opera casts these issues within the framework of the opera seria genre, a stylized format popular in the 18th century that is characterized by a succession of arias and recitatives and a cast of noble characters. Long neglected along with other works of this era, Idomeneonow holds a firm place in the repertoire as the first of Mozart’s operatic masterpieces.