Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The opera that announced the young Mozart’s genius to the world returns to the Met stage, with acclaimed maestro Manfred Honeck making a notable company debut on the podium. A distinguished cast of leading Mozarteans comes together to bring the moving drama and dazzling arias to life, with tenor Michael Spyres in the title role of the ancient Cretan king, alongside mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey as the noble prince Idamante and soprano Ying Fang as his conflicted beloved, Ilia. Soprano Federica Lombardi is the jealous Elettra, who loses her senses in a mad scene of virtuosic rage.
Revival a gift of Barbara Augusta Teichert
Languages sung in Idomeneo
Title languages displayed for Idomeneo
Met Titles In
Timeline for the show, Idomeneo
Estimated Run Time
3 hrs 20 mins
Acts I & II
World 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, Idomeneo now holds a firm place in the repertoire as the first of Mozart’s operatic masterpieces.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91) was the son of a Salzburg court musician who exhibited him as a musical prodigy throughout Europe. His achievements in opera, in terms of beauty, vocal challenge, and dramatic insight, remain unsurpassed. Giovanni Battista Varesco (1735–1805) was a poet and the court chaplain of the Principality of Salzburg, Mozart’s place of employment at the time of Idomeneo.
Set and Costume Designer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The opera is set on the island of Crete in the aftermath of the Trojan War. The tales of this time have provided fertile grounds for creators of opera, from Monteverdi (Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, 1640) to Berlioz (Les Troyens, 1863), to Richard Strauss (Die Ägyptische Helena, 1928), to Martin David Levy (Mourning Becomes Electra, 1967). The era is evocative, reflecting the confusion of a post-traumatic historical moment.
Despite the opera’s somewhat formulaic structure, the diversity of vocal solos and ensembles in Idomeneo is astounding. Mozart offers one of the first operatic mad scenes with Elettra’s demented "D’Oreste, d’Ajace," and the Act III quartet, “Andrò, ramingo e solo,” is as insightful and sophisticated as any example in opera. The choral writing, likewise, is especially refined, with the music woven into the action in an unprecedented manner.