Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Dramma per musica in three acts

Libretto by Giambattista Varesco


For five years, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had not presented an opera on the stage. Then, in 1781, he finally received the long-awaited commission to write one. The drama he was being asked to set was a tragedy in the French style. Despite the difficulties posed by the task of turning it into a magnificent opera seria for the Munich carnival, the commission fired his imagination. Returning home to Crete from the Trojan War, King Idomeneo and his fleet of ships are caught in a raging storm. In a desperate attempt to be saved, he promises Neptune, god of the sea, to sacrifice the first person he meets on land, little knowing that this will be his own son. Mozart used this tale to write an anti-war opera in which he articulated his own “good news” for the first time: the triumph of humanism through the all-conquering power of love. With his music he not only transcended the rigid forms of the libretto he was forced to work with, but went even further: the work, like a kind of template, already contains all the stories, characters and emotions that were to give his later operas their everlasting popularity. Eighteen years after this masterpiece reopened the Theater an der Wien as Vienna’s third opera house in 2006, this new production, directed by the theatre’s artistic director, marks the return of the opera house to its newly refurbished home.


In Italian with German and English surtitles

Introduction to the work 30 minutes before curtain-up



With thanks to Martin Schlaff for his support

Discovery package