Mozart: Idomeneo - Kmentt, Gencer, Rinaldi, Schreier, Trimarchi; Sawallisch. La Scala, 1968
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As rare as it is to see a production of Idomeneo today it was even rarer in the 60s. Despite certain liberties that are taken in this performance including numerous cuts and the reorganization of certain numbers, this performance is very faithful to the style of opera seria even by today's standard of performance practice. Waldemar Kmentt is near ideal in the title role. At this point in his career he had already branched out to heavier repertoire including Walther von Stolzing. He shows, however, that he has not forgotten his Mozartian roots and combines refined singing with a powerful burnished tone. His "Fuor del mar" is truly exceptional in its technical accuracy as well as for exciting, full-throated singing. Leyla Gencer is not a singer one associates with Mozart, but she shows that she can scale down her voice and stage histrionics to achieve the subtlety that Mozart calls for. That said, she unleashes a ferocious "D'Oreste D'Aiace" calling to mind her Lady Macbeth. Peter Schreier sings Idamante. His voice was never that attractive, but his rock solid technique compensates. It is very nice to have a full-voiced Ilia in the form of Margherita Rinaldi. Wolfgang Sawallisch leads a commanding performance, although at times some of the ensembles seem a little slow. The sound is very good. There is a little distortion at the beginning of the second CD.