ALBUM TITLE: Mozart.Strauss
PERFORMER: Robert Gambill, Britta Stallmeister, Camilla Nylund, Iris Vermillion, Christoph Pohl, Jacques-Greg Belobo, Rainer Büsching; Chor der Sächsischen Staatsoper Dresden; Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden/Fabio Luisi
CATALOGUE NO: Orfeo C 701 0721
Now revered as one of Mozart’s greatest achievements,Idomeneo was virtually unknown at the time Richard Strauss made his arrangement of it in 1931, as was the entire repertory of opera seria. So it’s not surprising that Strauss felt it needed a lot of help, and he certainly supplied it, with many cuts, transpositions for entire minor roles, a larger orchestra, new accompanied recitatives replacing Mozart’s secco originals, and even a certain amount of free composition. These days anyone knowing either of Mozart’s own original versions is going to nd the result, however well meaning, bizarre.Strauss’s Idomeneo certainly tells us more about the aesthetics of its period than it does about Mozart, but while it feels like a halfway-house between the opera (one or two of the chord progressions in the new recitatives could easily come from Elektra) the overhaul is carried out with a certain imagination, even if the whole is ultimately a curiosity of musical history rather than a viable performing alternative.This live recording emanating from a concert performance given at the Salzburg Festival in 2006 has just so-so sound, with some clogging and no sheen. Among the central roles Robert Gambill’s Idomeneo is fluent and genuinely heroic, Camilla Nylund’s Ismene (who is a replacement for Mozart’s Elettra!) vivid and Iris Vermillion’s Idamantes secure. Fabio Luisi’s conducting is superficial and lacking in character.