01 May 2010

Idomeneo, at Boston Lyric Opera

I went to see the BLO production of Mozart's Idomeneo last night. It was my first time seeing the opera; in fact, it was my first time hearing a great majority of the music. (By virtue of my being a classical voice major interested in opera, and many companies' reliance on the same tried-and-true audience favorites, this is not a very common occurrence.) I have always grouped Idomeneo with La clemenza di Tito - in part because the latter is also a less familiar piece to me, in part because of both works' more traditional opera seria style, as compared to the beloved Da Ponte offerings. But in listening to the piece last night, it became clear to me that I can also link it to the Requiem in its choruses, considerably more than other Mozart operas. Here the chorus, particularly in the second and third acts, are given complex, pathos-ridden music that is much more than crowd atmosphere creation.

Last night's production was fast-paced and dynamic. The unchanging set of par-ruined Greek columns was simple but visually compelling throughout. The choice of time-period led me to scratch my head as a result of the costuming, however - in particular, if Idomeneo is now returning from the Trojan War, why is the High Priest of Crete a dead ringer for a Greek orthodox patriarch? Three of the main roles were compelling to watch and hear: Jason Collins, as Idomeneo, and Sandra Piques Eddy, as Idamante, were good physical foils to each other and made a strong father-son team. It was upon Idamante's second major scene, the first with his father, that I felt Piques Eddy really turned on, vocally and in her stage presence. To round out the trio was Caroline Worra as Elettra, who sang and moved impressively both in her Act I aria and in her final mad scene. One would hope an Elettra would command the stage, and in these numbers, Worra certainly did.

Between the production design and the majority of the cast, I'm happy to say I had a generally very positive first full taste of Idomeneo.