Idomeneo, by common consent Mozart's greatest opera seria, is a rich synthesis of the dramatic potentialities of Italian opera seria, French tragédie lyrique, and recent German opera. It was composed for the finest orchestra in Germany and some excellent singers. Mozart's relish of the challenge and his problems with some performers and the bureaucracy are uniquely documented in his letters home and these form the basis of a vivid account of the genesis of the opera. A detailed synopsis relates the musical and dramatic action of the opera. Further chapters trace the historical development of its subject matter 'from myth to libretto' and chart the opera's performance history, including a description of Richard Strauss's 1931 reworking. Later chapters consider the opera's general structure and the musical forms, and analyse passages of particular interest.
• Rushton is author of the bestselling opera handbook on Don Giovanni and general editor of the Cambridge Music Handbooks series • This volume contains a substantial contribution from Stanley Sadie of Grove and The Cambridge Music Guide • Contains a fascinating description of Richard Strauss's reworking of Idomeneo
General preface; List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Synopsis; 2. Genesis of an operone; 3. 'Madame Dorothea Wendling is arcicontentissima': the singers of Idomeneo; 4. The genre of Idomeneo; 5. From myth to libretto; 6. Idomeneo after Mozart; 7. General structure of Idomeneo; 8. Two soliloquies; 9. 'Colorito': aspects of musical language; 10. Tonality and motive; 11. Elettra's first aria and the storm scene; 12. Critical conclusions; Notes; Select bibliography; Index.