(Scenes from the dress rehearsal)
Somewhere between pissing-off La Scala's loggionisti (Un Ballo) and sending billets-doux to Milan's Casa di riposo per musicisti Giuseppe Verdi (Falstaff) comes Damiano Michieletto's production of Mozart's Idomeneo for Theater an der Wien. When it premieres on November 13 in Vienna, Michieletto hints at a return to basic archetypes (stripped of mythology) and the classical elements (namely, dirt) for his new production of Mozart's father vs. son strife opera.
The central theme of my studies was the father-son rapport and the passage towards maturity, which brings fatigue and pain. Idamante has to free himself of the paternal oppression, from the sense of guilt, he has to discover and live out his independence and his love for Ilia. It deals with a passage that every son has to carry out: "to kill" his own father. And in this case, there's also a monster to kill, which represents the weight of the father figure. The sacrifice in which Idamante is put under coincides with his redemption, the end of childhood and the beginning of a new life. And in the final ten minutes, we see him become a father himself, while Idomeneo definitively exits the scene.
The circularity of life is recreated also in the stage parameters: the stage is covered in soil, the soil that embraces the cadavers and from that which new life can be born. The whole show takes advantage of a very simple aesthetic, with only a few objects, really to remain in that crevasse of an epic approach to this incident, that however is stripped of mythological references and correlated to a humanity which everyone, in today's world, can identify with.
Under René Jacobs with the Freiburger Barockorchester and the Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Richard Croft sings the title role, Gaëlle Arquez is his son Idamante, Sophie Karthäuser is Ilia, Marlis Petersen is Elettra and Julien Behr sings Arbace.