A new production conducted by Tomáš Netopil and directed by Davide Livermore

Teatro Regio, Friday 22 January 2010 at 8 pm

2010 opens with Idomeneo, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s first opera seria masterpiece, an opera in three acts on Giambattista Varesco’s libretto, after the tragédie lyrique of the same name by Antoine Danchet. The opera, on stage from Friday 22 January, confirms one of the Regio’s lines of policy: to propose important titles outside the usual repertoire, a significant artistic decision, which is possible for a theatre that counts on a mature, well-established public. On stage, the best singers on the international scene: Matthew Polenzani, Ruxandra Donose, Annick Massis and Eva Mei. On the podium of the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio will be Maestro Tomáš Netopil; the young music director of the National Theatre of Prague and stage director Davide Livermore return to collaborate in a new production – co-produced by the Teatro Comunale of Bologna – after having demonstrated, in Il Ratto dal Serraglio in 2006, a particular feeling for  Mozart operas. The Chorus Master is Roberto Gabbiani.

After twenty-four years, Idomeneo returns to the Regio. The opera was commissioned in 1780 by Prince-Elector Charles Theodore of Bavaria and was performed for the first time on 29 January 1781 at the Munich Residenzentheater. «From a musical point of view – according to Massimo Mila – the most beautiful  opera seria of the eighteenth century», Idomeneo was conceived for the orchestra of Mannheim, famous for the ability of its players, an essential ingredient that allowed Mozart to display an unprecedented richness of the winds. Above all, the young composer gave proof of an extraordinary dramaturgical knowledge, also taking part in the writing of the libretto and assigning an active role to the chorus. Idomeneo, King of Crete, his son Idamante, and Ilia and Electra, the daughters of Priam and Agamemnon, are the protagonists of a story that, first narrated by Homer, is presented to us today in the version by Davide Livermore:«human frailties, the relationship between man and God, the sea and its monsters…on stage I want to put humanity devastated by life, natural events, storms, wars». The story is set on Crete, where the Trojans are held prisoner; among them is Ilia, in love with the “enemy” Idamante and this love is returned. The young man, convinced that his father is on his way back, decides to free the prisoners, but Electra, who is in love with him, is against it. Everyone believes that Idomeneo has died in a storm at sea, but in reality he is alive thanks to a promise he made to Neptune: in exchange for his salvation, the first person he meets when he reaches land will be sacrificed; this is his son Idamante. Idomeneo, desperate, is  determined to save his son at all costs and tries to have him depart for Argo with Electra, but a sea monster appears out of the depths: it is Neptune, furious. Idamante defeats him and declares that he is ready to die, but fortunately the oracle of Neptune indicates a way to save himself: Idomeneo will have to yield the throne to his son, who will marry Ilia. The god is appeased and demands no sacrifice.

In the role of Idomeneo, the American tenor Matthew Polenzani, one of the most versatile and prize-winning singers of his generation, will be making his debut at the Regio. He will also sing the role of Alfredo in La Traviata with Natalie Dessay that the Regio will take  to Tokyo next summer. Also for the first time in our theatre, the Rumanian mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose, in the role of Idamante; the French soprano Annick Massis will be Ilia, the perfect role for exhibiting her talent to the full; Elettra will be Eva Mei, one of the most famous and loved Italian sopranos who returns to Torino for  an opera she knows well, having already sung the role of Ilia. The adviser Arbace will be Alessandro Liberatore, while during the eight performances, from 22 to 31 January, alternating in the principal roles will be José Ferrero (Idomeneo), Lucia Cirillo (Idamante), Yolanda Auyanet (Ilia) and Patrizia Bicciré (Elettra). Sets for this production are by Santi Centineo, costumes by Giusi Giustino and lighting by Andrea Anfossi.

Idomeneo will be broadcast live by Rai-Radio3 on 22 January at 8 pm and will be presented to the public by Carla Moreni in Incontro con l’Opera to take place at the Piccolo Regio Puccini Wednesday 13 January at 5.30 pm.

Box office of Teatro Regio, piazza Castello 215 - Tel. 011.8815.241/242 -

Torino, 12 January 2010 

Paola Giunti
Head of the Press Office