MOZART, W.A.: Mitridate, re di Ponto (Salzburg Festival, 2006)

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- (Disc 1)
Mitridate, re di Ponto, K. 87
Libretto/Text Author: Cigna-Santi, Vittorio Amedeo
Libretto Source: Racine, Jean

Aspasia: Or, Netta
Marzio: Lee, Colin
Mitridate: Croft, Richard

Set/Stage Designer: Backmann, Jurgen
Costume Designer: Bauer, Falk
Lighting Designer: Voss, Manfred
Choreographer: Pichler, Otto
Stage Director: Kramer, Gunter
Television Director: Schonhofer, Peter

Date of Production: 2006
Festival: Salzburg Festival
Venue: Residenzhof, Salzburg
Playing Time: 02:31:00
Catalogue Number: A04001481
UPC:

Synopsis

Widely acclaimed as one of the absolute top productions of the Mozart 22 cycle in Salzburg, Mitridate has everything going for it. It is a wild story of erotic desire, jealousy, intrigue and betrayal; a dramatically focused staging that does full justice to the conflicted relations; a cast of singers who are all of the highest caliber; and a sensational musical ensemble led by a singularly powerful and charismatic conductor.

Indeed, the real star of this production is conductor Marc Minkowski, who is famed for his recordings of Baroque music with his ensemble Les Musiciens du Louvre - Grenoble, who also play on this recording. It is nothing less than phenomenal how Minkowski storms into the score and unleashes raw emotions encompassing everything from happiness and tenderness to madness and murderous jealousy. As he plumbs the depths of this music, he carries his singers on his orchestra's richly nuanced fabric, whips them along impetuously, and envelops them in opulent sounds.

In stage director Günter Krämer and his set designer Jürgen Bäckmann, Minkowski found partners on a par with his vibrant talent. Through cleverly placed mirrors, Krämer reveals what's going on "behind the scenes" at the same time that we see what is occurring before our eyes - a breathtaking layering of the events that illuminates the characters' psychology in a subtle manner.

Mitridate is the first major opera seria of the 14-year-old Mozart, and its plot typical of this genre, which had its heyday in the mid to late 18th century. King Mitridate, blinded by his lust for power, believes his sons Farnace and Sifare, as well as his betrothed Aspasia, are betraying him. He wants to put them to the test by staging his own death. The two sons, who want to go their own ways, are thus forced to oppose their father, even as they long for his love. Mitridate is ready to sacrifice all three - but in the end, he is the only one who dies.

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