Clear-sighted staging… a definite success
This is a production characterised by musical insight, dramatic composure and technical excellence
ETO’s tour venues have a real treat in store.
The Arts Desk
What is clear from the outset is the extremely high standard of the musical performance
Emotional rawness alongside gleaming passagework
Setting: The island of Crete, after the Trojan War
Ilia, daughter of the defeated King Priam of Troy, is a prisoner in Crete. Against all that she feels is right, she has fallen in love with Idamante, son of the king of Crete (Idomeneo). Idamante also loves her, and in a gesture of good will he frees all Trojan prisoners. The news enrages Elettra, daughter of theGreek king, Agamemnon, who is also in love with Idamante. King Idomeneo is presumed to have drowned at sea while returning fromTroy to Crete after an absence of 10 years. At a moment of extreme danger he promised the god of the sea that inreturn for his safe passage he would sacrifice the first person he met on dryland. Reaching the shore, exhausted he meets a stranger, who he gradually recognises as his only son, Idamante.
The king’s return is celebrated.
Idomeneo confides in his advisor Arbace. They contrive to save Idamante: Idomeneo orders his son to escort Elettra to her home, Argos. Ilia tells Idomeneo that since she has lost everything, Crete is now her home – and that she will think of him as a new father. Sadly, Idomeneo understands that she loves Idamante. Elettra is happy, seeing an opportunity to win the heart of Idamante. Before Idamante and Elettra can sail, a storm breaks out. Idomeneo recognises that his attempt to deceive the sea god, has failed; he offers to sacrifice himself, but the storm only grows in intensity.
Before Idamante and Elettra can sail, a storm breaks out. Idomeneo recognises that his attempt to deceive the sea god, has failed; he offers to sacrifice himself, but the storm only grows in intensity.
Understanding Idamante to have departed, Ilia is able to admit her love for him. Idamante arrives, as if summoned by this love. Elettra and Idomeneo find them together - and the king orders his son to leave the island. Plague and famine devastate the island. Its people require Idomeneo to name the sacrificial victim. Even Arbace, in his capacity as High Priest of the sea god, puts pressure on the king – but Arbace expects him simply to name another victim. To his horror, Idomeneo names his son, Idamante.
To save him, Arbace claims that Idamante has slain a sea monster, thus ending the terror. Idamante, relieved to understand why his father has shunned him, insists that the sacrifice proceed. To the consternation of all, the Trojan Ilia offers to take his place. At the crucial moment, a supernatural voice orders that in recognition of Ilia’s love the sacrifice be halted, that Idomeneo should abdicate and that his throne should pass to Idamante and Ilia. Elettra is inconsolable.
Jonathan Peter KennyConductor
Rory BeatonLighting Designer
John GyeanteyArbace/High Priest
Arshak KuzikyanVoice of Neptune
Emma StannardChorus (Idamante)
Dominic J. WalshChorus