Bonn: Chez N. Simrock... Paris: H. Simrock, professeur, marchand de musique et d'instrumens, rue du Mont Blanc No. 373. Chaussée d'Antin près le Boulevard. [PN 444], . Folio. Attractively bound in modern dark brown half-calf with marbled boards, raised bands on spine in compartments gilt, morocco title label. 1f. (title),  (blank),  (Personaggi), 3-123, [i] (blank), [i] (half title to Act II), 124-223, [i] (blank), [i] (full title), 224-365 pp. Engraved. With text in Italian.
The title page of Act 3 carries "L'Jdomeneo" in its first line; it is otherwise identical to the title page of Act 1. The half-title of Act 2 reads: "I Domeneo Rè di Creta. Atto II."
Annotations in pencil: voice types to Personaggi, unsystematic reiteration of staff names after page breaks, and some measure numbers; occasional corrections.
Dampstaining to lower inner corner from the final leaf of the first act on.
Quite a good copy overall.
First Edition, 6th issue. Köchel 6 p. 372. Haberkamp pp. 163-166. Hoboken II, 108 (another issue). Hirsch II, 654 (issue not indicated). RISM M4187 (not distinguishing among issues). The score order is unusual in that the timpani are at the head of the system, followed by the winds in order of decreasing loudness - trumpets, horns, clarinets, flutes, oboes; the strings at the bottom of the system appear in the usual layout, i.e., by range. There is no separate staff for the bassoons, which simply doubled the string bass.
The overture and 32 numbers, including 2 ballets.
Idomeneo, a "dramma per musica" in three acts, was first performed in Munich at the Residenztheater on January 29, 1781 to a libretto by Giovanni Battista Varesco after Antoine Danchet’s Idomenée;
"Having completed nine operatic works, Mozart, aged twenty-four, was commissioned to write an opera by the Elector Karl Theodor of Bavaria, formerly of Mannheim, who had moved to Munich in January 1778. He began work in Salzburg in October 1780 and moved to Munich in November to complete the work with the singers, several of whom he knew from Mannheim days. The opera was successful but there were no further performances in other houses and the amateur performance in Vienna took place five years later." Robbins Landon: The Mozart Companion, p. 248.
"Idomeneo sprang from a specific tradition and far outstripped it. The happy auspices under which it was created brought forth from Mozart a work so demanding that it could hardly be performed elsewhere. Even the Mannheim-Munich forces were probably not ready for its boldness. "Magnificent," "expressive," "novel," "powerful," "and "strange," its first auditors called it, with the dominating impression certainly the last. For all but a few the profundities of this opera eroica were too deep. In the decade Mozart had left to live, it had already became a work dispossessed. This is perhaps one of the reasons why he loved it especially among all his works." Heartz: Mozart's Operas, p. 34.
"There may not be here the delicate psychological detail that we find in Figaro and Cosi fan tutti, or the sublime naturalness and simplicity of Die Zauberflote -- these would both have been completely foreign to the general style of the opera -- but there is a monumental strength and a white heat of passion that we find in this early work of Mozart's and shall never find again. Idomeneo is the first and last 'opera seria' that represents the complete and mature Mozart." Dent: Mozart's Operas (2nd ed.), p. 45. Item #26098
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