Mozart wrote Idomeneo when he was twenty-four years old, and the opera was described by Albert Einstein as “one of those works that even a genius like Mozart could write only once in his life”. It is one of most astonishing achievements of an altogether astonishing career.
In this newly commissioned guide, Julian Rushton explains the special nature of the music in a detailed analysis of its themes and development, while Nicholas Till places the opera in its context as an expression of the Enlightenment. Gary Kahn explores the performance history of an opera which, although largely ignored for over a hundred and fifty years, has now taken its place as part of the international operatic repertoire. A selection of the unique letters between Mozart and his father written during the opera’s composition is also included.
Idomeneo and the Background of the Enlightenment, Nicholas Till
Idomeneo, re di Creta, the Music, Julian Rushton
A Brief Performance History, Gary Kahn
The Composition of Idomeneo in Mozart’s Letters
Idomeneo: Libretto by Giambattista Varesco
Idomeneo: English Translation by Charles Johnston
For anyone with a keen interest in opera, whatever their level of knowledge, this series remains a benchmark of quality and clarity. The content is serious, reliable and trustworthy, handsomely put together, full of variety and scholarship but always making the practical experience of going to the opera a priority. I return to these volumes again and again and find the updated and new issues absolutely invaluable.
These guides, so beautiful to have and to behold, mark a huge advance on their predecessors. I find them essential supplements, not only to ENO and Royal Opera programmes, but to recordings issued on CD which often come without scholarly documentation and a libretto. The performance histories … are especially valuable, and not easily accessible elsewhere.
Beautifully produced and designed … they are terrific value.
The Daily Telegraph
Companionable – that's the first impression given by these … Overture Opera Guides
For everything you need to know, concisely packaged.
I am delighted to see the return of the ENO Opera Guides, bigger and even more authoritative than before. There are authoritative new articles as well as several of the irreplaceable originals, the presentation is very handsome and a decided gain is the brilliantly chosen selection of production images, in colour as well as black and white. The Guides are an invaluable reference for opera lovers at any level.
BBC Music Magazine
Neat little volumes they are, handy for carrying around, clearly printed and well set-out, complete with libretto and translation, discography and a generous selection of illustrations.
The first thing noticeable about these initial items in the revamped Opera Guides series … is how much more solid and attractive these volumes are compared with the old ones. Production values are up, with more appealing design, clearer print and much better paper, making these books altogether more shelf-worthy.
BBC Music Magazine
The newly minted guide to Idomeneo is a winner … Julian Rushton leads us through the music's intricate dramatic strategies moment by vivid moment, with a depth and clarity that readers of any level of musical knowledge can appreciate.
This uniformly excellent series is indispensable for the serious opera lover, all the more so now that almost all the CD companies have abandoned issuing a libretto with their opera releases, and have such scant background information. The English translations are on facing pages with the original texts, and in all respects the books are helpful and compact, and interestingly illustrated.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91) was born in Salzburg, and began composing at the age of five. His subsequent prolific output included the great operas of his maturity, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and Die Zauberflöte.