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Idomeneo: Comp (Ital)
|1. Sinfonia - Wiener PO/Pritchard|
|2. Act I: Scene 1: Quando avran fine omai l'aspre sventure mie? - Lucia Popp|
|3. Act I: Scene 1: Padre, germani, addio! - Lucia Popp|
|4. Act I: Scene 1: Radunatee i Troiani - Agnes Baltsa|
|5. Act I: Scene 1: Non ho colpa, e mi condanni - Agnes Baltsa|
|6. Act I: Scene 1: Godiam la pace - Gabriele Fontana/Margaretha Hintermeier/Yoshihisa Yamaji/Nikolaus Hillebrand/Elizabeth Parcells|
See all 15 tracks on this disc
|1. Act II: Scene 1: Tutto m'e noto - Leo Nucci|
|2. Act II: Scene 1: Se il tuo duol, se il mio desio - Leo Nucci|
|3. Act II: Scene 1: Se il padre perdei - Lucia Popp|
|4. Act II: Scene 1: Qual mi conturba i sensi equivoca favella! - Luciano Pavarotti|
|5. Act II: Scene 1: Fuor del mar ho un mar in seno - Luciano Pavarotti|
|6. Act II: Scene 1: Chi mai del mio provo piacer piu dolce! - Edita Gruberova|
See all 14 tracks on this disc
|1. Act III: Scene 1: Cieli! che vedo? - Luciano Pavarotti|
|2. Act III: Scene 1: Sventurata Sidon! - Leo Nucci|
|3. Act III: Scene 2: Volgi intorno lo sguardo, o Sire - Timothy Jenkins|
|4. Act III: Scene 2: O voto tremendo! - Konzertvereinigung Wiener St. Opr. Chor/Froschauer|
|5. Act III: Scene 3: Marcia - Wiener PO/Pritchard|
|6. Act III: Scene 3: Accogli, oh re del mar - Luciano Pavarotti|
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Premiered two days before Mozart's 25th birthday, this is the first opera of his maturity (i.e., the amazing last 10 years of his too-short life). It is written in a modified form of opera seria, a Baroque rather than a classical style, with a plot from Greek mythology and rigid structures that Mozart bent somewhat to his own preferences. It poses stylistic problems quite different from those raised by Don Giovanni or The Magic Flute, which are much closer to modern concepts of opera and, indeed, helped to establish those concepts. Pritchard's interpretation makes reasonable compromises (mostly short textual cuts) between the old-fashioned form and modern tastes. The women in his cast are excellent, as are the Viennese chorus and orchestra. Recommended for those who dislike music on period instruments. --Joe McLellan
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1 Pritchard is perfect. Great tempi and pacing, even more convincing than Davis II (very close)
and Karl Bohm, both of whose entire performances deserve five stars
2. The Vienna Philharmonic is superb-not always the case for them, but I give Pritchard at
least partial credit. Bohm/Dresden are even better and Davis is close
3. The women: Popp's Ilia is quite beautiful, with a great "Il Padre Perdei". Of the other
Ilias, I prefer Hendricks with Davis II to the excellent Edith Mathis for Bohm- just love the BH
voice. And then there is the stunning Ilia of Margherita Rinaldi in Davis I-the best singer in that
Gruberova's is the most beautiful voice for Elettra, but Varady for Bohm is close
and is even better dramatically-she is my favorit Elettra. Both Agnes Baltsa for Pritchard and Suzanne Mentzer for Davis II are good Idamantes- I prefer Mentzer's voice slightly, and mezzo Idanantes usually to tenors (//good mezzos to counter-tenors in Bach and Handel).
Finally, I prefer the Idomeneos of Araiza and Ochman to that of Pavarotti. Ochman for Bohm possesses a smaller voice than Araiza for Davis II but is no less intense dramatically and I enjoy his sound/timbre. The three in descending order: Araiza, Ochman, Pavarotti. George Shirley in Davis I would be #3. Pavarotti is sufficiently heroic and dramatically credible. However, I find his performance effortful and do not enjoy his sound very much. He makes an honorable effort. I remain happy with Bohm, Davis II, and much of this Pritchard set (plus Davis I primarily for Rinaldi and Davis.)
Now, it is true that through forcing Nucci later - all too soon, in fact - developed a terrible wobble and a scooping habit in combination with a loss of centre in his tone - but here he sounds as he did the first time I heard him in "Luisa Miller" at Covent Garden: firm, agile and focused, making a real event out of Arbace's arias which are often cut. Gruberova, too, has her voice well under control, without the distracting flutter and gulping which afflicted other performances; she is ideally distracted and hysterical as Elettra, in whose music a little stridency does not go amiss. She complements the delightfully pure and innocent Ilia of Lucia Popp, who sings divinely in "Se il padre perdei" even if occasionally both she and Gruberova give in to a "squeezing" mannerism when leaning into notes. Pavarotti is more heroic in a bravura "Fuor del mar" than any of the competition, even Anthony Rolfe Johnson, and he has that special gleam in his sound which brings the character alive and enhances the drama of the action in a way which evades John Eliot Gardiner's set. Furthermore, he even essays a passable trill. He was, after all, only 47 years old here and would sing very well for at least another ten years. Baltsa is an agile, rich-voiced, slightly tough, hence suitably masculine Idamante. The trio "Pria di partir" is exquisite and it is noticeable how often Pavarotti reins in his voice to sing quietly with great beauty.
Other advantages include a splendidly clear digital recording, a full libretto and the presence of a reduced VPO playing in appropriately light, elegant style under Pritchard's flexible and sympathetic conducting; the ensemble work is flawless.
This goes to the top of my recommendations for this opera, even though I still admire the 1957 EMI recording with Richard Lewis, Léopold Simoneau and Sena Jurinac - also conducted by Pritchard very much earlier in his career. I am indebted to a fellow music-lover for pointing me towards this one.
On the plus side, Edita Gruberova and Agnes Baltsa, both of whom are experienced Mozartian singers, deliver a splendid performance as Ilia and Idamante. Gruberova's light, lyric coloratura voice is well-placed and attuned to Mozart's music. Furthermore, her voice is dulcet in tone and pure, qualities which are essential to the Mozartian heroine. Gruberova may be wonderful, but I have myself heard better Ilias- that of Carol Vaness is outstanding and those of Arlene Auger and most recently Natalie Dessay. But kudos to Gruberova's wonderful performance. As for Anges Baltsa, she's remarkable. She never ceases to amaze me. She is the most flexible and versatile mezzo soprano in recorded history. In her recordings you'll find her singing excellent dramatic Princess Ebolis, Romeos from Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, Queen Elisabeth from Maria Stuarda, Dalilah in Saint-Saens' Samson among other roles. Here, she sings with amazing lung power and mezzo di voce, but also able to sing with decent coloratura. So, even if Pavarotti fails to impress, Gruberova and Baltsa (who have worked together before) make their usual great performance. As for the conductor and the orchestra's treatment of the score - honestly it could have been better. It's slow-paced, dull and lacking passion and fire.
With Mozart, it appears to be quite another story.
This Idomeneo, though he sings quite well (especially the recitatives - don't laugh!), lacks the shimmer that he displays so well in the classical and romantic Italian repertoire.
Mozart, when composing an Italian opera seria, commends a style that was more akin to baroque than classical in such genre. Even his last opera seria La Clemeza di Tito is more baroque than classical in a sense than his three operas buffa - the great da Ponte trio.
Pavarotti does not seem to excel in baroque repertoire, so I would say that his attempt at Idomeneo is doomed from the outset. If Pavarotti really wanted to try his hand at Mozart, he should have picked, say, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte instead of Idomeneo, or Idamante.
So much for Pav. There is another major protagonist in this recording that I discover to be below her usual level of performance - Lucia Popp's Ilia.
Her duets with Baltsa and her solo arias, are some how more insipid than lyrical. This is simply not Popp's usual self.
Baltsa sings finely, though not in a level as she did when she sang Ascanio in Alba for Hager years ago.
The only 'star' left standing aloft in this recording is Edita Gruberova.