• New Paperback | 184 pp.
  • ISBN: 9781847495396
  • Published: 2010


Mozart wrote Idomeneo when he was twenty-four years old, and the opera was described by Albert Einstein as "one of those works that even a genius like Mozart could write only once in his life". It is one of most astonishing achievements of an altogether astonishing career. In this newly commissioned guide, Julian Rushton explains the special nature of the music in a detailed analysis of its themes and development, while Nicholas Till places the opera in its context as an expression of the Enlightenment. Gary Kahn explores the performance history of an opera which, although largely ignored for over a hundred and fifty years, has now taken its place as part of the international operatic repertoire. A selection of the unique letters between Mozart and his father written during the opera's composition is also included.

The guide has twenty-three illustrations, a detailed thematic analysis and the original libretto with a facing literal translation of all the words that Mozart set to music in the various performing versions during his lifetime. There is a discography, DVD guide and bibliography, together with a list of websites that will allow the reader to explore the opera further.


‘Neat little volumes they are, handy for carrying around, clearly printed and well set-out, complete with libretto and translation, discography and a generous selection of illustrations.’ Gramophone

'For everything you need to know, concisely packaged.' The Telegraph

'Increasingly indispensable.' BBC Music Magazine

‘The first thing noticeable about these initial items in the revamped Opera Guides series... is how much more solid and attractive these volumes are compared with the old ones. Production values are up, with more appealing design, clearer print and much better paper, making these books altogether more shelf-worthy.’
BBC Music Magazine

'Companionable' - that's the first impression given by these... Overture Opera Guides' Opera Magazine

'The newly-minted guide to Idomeneo is a winner... Julian Rushton leads us through the music's intricate dramatic strategies moment by vivid moment, with a depth and clarity that readers of any level of musical knowledge can appreciate.' Opera Magazine


By the same author:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was born in Salzburg, and began composing at the age of five. His subsequent prolific output included the great operas of his maturity, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and Die Zauberflöte.
First Published: 2010

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