A stern Father’s Day treat: Mozart Idomeneo at Garsington

Mozart’s Idomeneo, rè di Creta is a sprawling monster of an opera; messy in its misappropriations of classical myth, and chaotic in the pacing and development of its plot, it fills a long evening by being strangely voluminous in parts and curiously bare in others. Gone are the taut sexual dynamics of Le nozze di Figaro, or the relentless impetus towards destruction of Don Giovanni; yet Idomeneo‘s subtly anarchist undertones follow the instincts of both those operas, challenging and problematising accepted feudal power structures in favour of a true meritocracy where virtue and nobility will go hand in hand into a braver, better future. Mozart turns to tragic peril as his emotional engine for Idomeneo, thrusting his characters into ever more miserable social and emotional plights before dragging them to a gruesome finale where the failure of the old world is just as prominent as the triumph of the new.

As a result, it’s been an tempting target for Regietheater in recent times, but director Tim Albery has tried to produce a relatively straightforward and sensible Idomeneo for Garsington; peopled by sensible fisherfolk in oilskins and wellies, with principals in 18th-century silk, there’s not a rubber shark or stormtrooper in sight.

Click here to read my full review on Bachtrack.

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