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Met Encore: Idomeneo

Sunday 26 March, 12:55pm
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Mozart’s first operatic masterpiece returns to the Met in the classic Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production, conducted by Music Director Emeritus James Levine. The superb ensemble includes Matthew Polenzani as the king torn by a rash vow; mezzo-soprano Alice Coote in the trouser role of his noble son Idamante; soprano Nadine Sierra as Ilia; and soprano Elza van den Heever as the volatile Elettra, who loves Idamante to the bounds of madness.
act i Idomeneo, King of Crete, is returning from the Trojan War. The Trojan princess Ilia, held captive in Crete, has fallen in love with Idomeneo’s son, Idamante. Elettra, princess of Argos, also loves Idamante. When Idomeneo’s fleet is caught in a storm, he vows, in hopes of being saved, to sacrifice to Neptune the first man he comes across on land. That man turns out to be Idamante.

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act ii To save his son, the desperate Idomeneo commands Idomante to escort Elettra back to Argos. Elettra is now certain to win Idamante. As their ship is about to depart for Argos, another storm arises and a sea monster appears. Idomeneo confesses his guilt and offers himself as a sacrifice.

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act iii Idamante can’t make sense of his father’s behavior because Idomeneo still hasn’t revealed the subject of his oath. The monster has brought devastation to the island, and the High Priest demands to know who must be sacrificed. Idomeneo reveals that it is his son. News arrives that Idamante has killed the monster. Finally understanding his father’s motives, Idamante demands that the sacrifice proceed, but the voice of Neptune intervenes: if Idomeneo will yield power to Idamante and Ilia, the gods will be satisfied. Elettra collapses. Idomeneo gives up the throne and unites his son with Ilia.