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Idomeneo or Idomeneo, re di Creta ossia Ilia e Idamante ('Idemeneo, King of Crete') is an Italian-language opera seria by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).

The original text

The legend of Idomeneo is set in the ruins of the Trojan War: the King of Crete is on the winning side but is pursued by the wrath of Neptune. To save his fleet, he makes a pact with the sea god: he will sacrifice to him the first soul he meets after setting foot on land. Unfortunately, it is his son Idamante who comes to meet him: Idomeneo will have to make a choice between his son and his kingdom.

The libretto was adapted by Giambattista Varesco from a French text by Antoine Danchet, based on a 1705 play by Crébillion père, which had been set to music by André Campra as Idoménée in 1712.

First performed at Cuvilliés Theatre in Munich, 29 January 1781.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

2002: Presented by Cape Town Opera (20–23 March)


'Idomeneo, King of Crete'. Opéra national de Lorraine.

Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

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