Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Idomeneo

On January 29, 1781, Mozart’s “Dramma per musica in tre atti” premiered in Munich’s Hoftheater, today’s Cuvilliéstheater. The libretto is based on the tragédie lyrique of the same name by Antoine Danchet with music by André Campra and was written by the Salzburg chaplain Giambattista Varesco. Five years later, a version revised by Mozart was performed in Vienna.

In 1775 Mozart’s La finta giardiniera was premiered in Munich, and in 1780 the composer was commissioned by Karl Theodor, the Elector of Bavaria, to create an opera for Munich as the highlight of the carnival season. Mozart attended the rehearsals of both operas. Idomeneo was not finished until he was there, and so Mozart was able to take special account of the vocal possibilities of the singers. A correspondence between Mozart and his father Leopold provides information about the background to the creation of Idomeneo, in which the function of scenes and arias is also discussed.

Mozart Letters and Documents – Online Edition:

Photo credit: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Signatur Slg.Her 811