1280x680_Oper_Konzertant_1516 © beyond/Mara Burmester

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For the 10th anniversary of the reopening of the Theater an der Wien as the City of Vienna’s new opera house, the two composers who have been central to the theatre’s history are acknowledged with two anniversary concerts: besides Beethoven’s Fidelio under Nikolaus Harnoncourt we are also presenting Mozart’s Idomeneo, conducted by René Jacobs, who is not only one of the foremost conductors of 18th-century music, but has also been the most influential in establishing the Theater an der Wien’s reputation over the last ten years. With Idomeneo, composed for the carnival at the Munich court (1781), the young Mozart was already trying his hand as a reformer of the opera of his day: in it, he combined forms from French opera with those of the Italian and included choruses and ballet. In Munich, Mozart had one of the best orchestras of the day at his disposal, and it is for this reason that the instrumental colours play a more important role than in all his other operas. Using only the sound of the orchestra, Mozart subtly portrays the emotional turmoil of the characters: a father who has to sacrifice his son; a son who loves a sad, captive princess against his father’s will; an offended princess and an angered God – the drama unfolds in breathtaking fashion in the music.