MOZART Idomeneo Gardiner 4316742
Magnificently cast with Rolfe Johnson and anguished Idomeneo and von Otter a profoundly moving Idamante, this is one of Gardiner's finest recordings.
. . . Mozart . . . created a breakthrough work. Loosening the strict formal conventions of opera seria, he reaches deep into the emotions of his mythical characters. Period instruments and wholehearted choral singing add biter to John Eliot Gardiner's intense, characterful recording.
Here's a performance that blends this conductor's love of scholarship with an unerring sense of theatre . . . And for once this Trojan Princess is a flesh and blood woman and not a tinkling soubrette . . . Hillevi Martinpelto is Elettra, the bad girl of the piece, and wonderfully bad too here with cascading coloratura on her final demented aria. The English Baroque Soloists are magnificent . . . John Eliot Gardiner's is the vision that drives this magnificent recording.
An engulfing theatrical experience, with a superlative chorus and orchestra and a fine cast . . . ideally poised between the lyrical and the heroic . . . [Gardiner's] trademark mix of scrupulous scholarship and theatrical excitement shines through every bar. While the hieratic scenes of Act 3 have all the gravitas you could wish for, Gardiner makes the opera a profoundly human drama . . . thrilling . . .As the stricken king, Anthony Rolfe Johnson rails magnificently in "Fuor del mar", and distils a chastened serenity in his valedictory "Torna la pace". Anne Sofie von Otter, in glowing voice, gives Idamante's Act 1 arias an unusually introspective cast; Silvia McNair is the most limpid [Ilias] . . . Hillevi Martinpelto catches the pathos within Elettra's vengeful fury, and finds a lyrical grace for her momentary dream of bliss.