"This is simply a wonderful recording of a really terrific opera. I recently had a chance to see it live at the San Francisco Opera where it was performed quite admirably. Carol Vaness just happened to be both the live performer as well as one of the stars on this recording. While not my all time favorite Elettra she is quite good and does a solid job. There are just not enough good things to say about Domingo (or Cecilia Bartoli). Do yourself a favor and buy this opera. If you listen to it and love it as much as I do, do yourself another favor and buy the Met's version on VHS with Pavarotti and Hildegard Behrens. Ileana Cotrubas gives quite a wonderful performance on the video as well. As far as the original instruments go, that's a real don't care for most listeners. I have a few Mozart recordings performed on original instruments and though they are quite good, I don't feel cheated or consider the work diminished in any way when listening to a modern instrument rendition."
Mobius | 03/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Levine has really surpassed himself in this recording. The performance is breathtaking and stunning. The cast looks like a who's who list of shortlist for the Oscars - Domingo, Bartoli, Grant Lurphy, Hampson, terfel, Lopardo. And it isn't just clever 'brand name' marketing. It is not uncommon to have an all-star cast of a recording of an opera and yet have a lackluster performance. Not so down here. These opera singers really live up to their names and they sing with intensity and commitment, as if it were a live performance and not some monotonous studio recording. All the singers are dramatically involved in the roles that they sing. The Grammophone rightly recommends this as a top choice for a modern instrument recording of Idomeneo. If you want period instrument performance, Gardiner's would be the one. Added to the singers, the Met orchestra and chorus are in superb form here. The chorus sings vigorously and the Met orchestra plays wonderfully - up there with the best.A firm first recommendation. Be sure not to miss this performance."
The Greatest Modern Recording Of Idomeneo
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 08/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best studio recording of the modern digital remastering era for the opera Idomeneo, which Mozart composed as his first really successful and famous opera seria when he was still very young. Opera seria was in vogue at the time of Mozart's first venture into opera. Dating as far back as the Baroque period of Handel's operas, opera seria was a style of opera that drew from classical themes about gods and heroes. Noble-sounding music was employed and historic subjects. In Idomeneo, we get all of this, in something very much like Greek tragedy. The sound is great, James Levine and the Met forces are in superb condition and the tenor Levine championed- Placido Domingo steals the show. His voice is perfect for the lyric richness and bravura of the strong hero Idomeneo.
Placido Domingo sang this role, and in fact other Mozart roles such as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, before. His Idomeneo is his best Mozartian portrayal. He sang it, and in good form, as recently as September of 2004. On this recording, he has absolutely no flaw in technique whatsoever. He sings Mozart and Wagner these days, though in his glory days of his youth his greatest repertoire was Verdi and Puccini. Idomeneo is a challenging role, it has high tessitura and acrobatics that Mozart wrote for the original castrati in the part. But Domingo delivers a magnificent and strong performance with dynamic power. Luciano Pavoratti, I might add, had also sung the role, but for me, with less passion and is nowhere near the magnitude of Domingo's portrayal. I have a feeling Pavoratti sang Idomeneo only to stray from his routine Verdi and Puccini Italian repertoire and not to be outdone by Domingo. Plus, Pavoratti is less of a committed singer. He would never sing Wagner like Domingo has done as well. My apologies to rabid Pavoratti fans.
Carol Vaness is hands down the strongest soprano even when she saw the rise of the 90's divas Angela Gheorghiu and Renee Fleming. Carol Vaness has a rich, dark, dramatic voice that is capable of all the bravura of a Leonora in Trovatore or a Tosca. As Ilia, she is noble, dignified and regal. Her Mozart technique is again sensational (she has sung Dona Ana with great success). She has the most controlled voice in the recording, though everyone else are seasoned and in control, as well, which is what makes this recording sublime. Cecilia Bartoli needs know introduction and her performance here is radiant and technically brilliant. I couldnt imagine her singing anything greater than this role, except perhaps Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte. Her mezzo voice is also capable of dazzling coloratura and this is showcased here with splendor. Frank Lopardo is a fine singer and holds his own in his part. Bryn Terfel is on this recording and his is a voice of deep, therapeutic magnificence. He does a sublime job here. Heidi Grant Murphy, also great. Thomas Hampson is another tenor with a following and successful career. This star-studded cast will not be singing together any time soon, so please go out and buy this recording and prepare yourself for the best Mozart opera on record today."
Mobius | 11/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think this recording is nothing short of fabulous!! It's one of those recordings that you have no trouble sitting through from first to last at the first hearing.Levine's conducting is magnificent. The Met Orchestra responds acutely to his direction and the Met chorus' lusty singing is incredible. At points of dramatic urgency, the Met Chorus' singing is appropriate.Domingo is fantastic as Idomeneo. His voice is strong and virile, befitting that of a king. The rest of the cast is incredible.For modern period performance, this is the definitive version. For period performance, the gardiner is the definitive version. Different times, different styles. There is no comparison. It's just a question of whether you like modern period "sound" or period instrument "sound". In my view, they complement each other. Afterall, music is a living art. And music as beautiful as those of mozart's deserve to have multiple interpretations on record.You should buy both if you are an opera lover."