From the Salzburg Festival: "Idomeneo" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, conducted by Roger Norrington, directed by Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann. With Ramón Vargas (Idomeneo), Magdalena Kozená (Idamante), Ekaterina Siurina (Ilia), Anja Harteros (Elettra), Jeffrey Francis (Arbace), the Salzburger Bach Choir and the Camerata Salzburg. Written for the court of Munich in 1780/81, "Idomeneo" is often regarded as the first of the seven undisputed masterworks in Mozart's dramatic oeuvre. Never before had he cast such bold, impassioned music into a dramatic form or devised such a well-calibrated dramaturgy. King Idomeneo has promised to sacrifice to Neptune the first person he meets if he is saved from shipwreck; this turns out to be his son Idamante, who stands between two women, the Trojan Princess Ilia, whom he loves, and the Greek princess Elettra, who loves him. Four people on the edge of the abyss, drawn together by passion, torn apart by reasons of state... Such an extraordinary work deserves an exceptional interpretation. And this is ensured by Roger Norrington and the Camerata Salzburg playing on an "island" (the action unfolds on Crete) surrounded by narrow ramps on which the singers, literally "on the edge of the abyss," pace about in search of one another, of love, of redemption... Simplicity and elegance stamp both the production of Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann, and the playing of the Camerata Salzburg. Norrington entices entire catalogues of nuances from his players, but never yields to manneristic over-refinement. His Mozart is slender and suave, rigorous and concise.