Idomeneo – König von Kreta


Drama per musica in three acts, libretto by Giambattista Varesco
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, München
Musical Director: Ekkehard Klemm
Production, stage design, and costumes: Claudia Doderer
with ensemble, choir und orchestra of Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz
Premiere: December 21, 2003

Reinhard Schulz
In the Garden of Emotions
Mozart’s Idomeneo, directed by Claudia Doderer, conducted by Ekkehard Klemm at the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich

(…) Every production today is faced with these problems. Should one abide by the premiere version, or should one reconstruct what Mozart had in mind? “Everything is composed already—but nothing has been written,” Mozart told his father. And after it was written, some of it was taken out again. What, then, is the real truth of the piece? The production at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, led by Ekkehard Klemm, took on the challenge. And Claudia Doderer, who acted as director as well as stage and costume designer, created its carefully conceived counterpart. Initially, she cleared the stage with the aesthetic of Japanese gardens in mind. Peace and quiet were prescribed, with the evocative gestures of NO-Theater and geometrically tailored garments comprising the main elements. Doderer took the bull by the horns, with success. Directing movement, as has become commonplace over the past several years, was beside the point here. Idomeneo, as a bridge between opera seria and tragedie lyrique, bears statuary features. Even the most riveting scenes, such as the rampage of the sea monster, demanding the sacrifice of the king’s son Idamante, are essentially inner storms. Masses sent scurrying across the stage would be ridiculous here.

Doderer might well have been inspired by the tableau-like outlines of Jacques Louis David, the painter of the French Revolution. On the whole, however, she relied on the asceticism of simple beauty. The eye should prompt the observing mind, and otherwise ample mental space should remain for the music, which Doderer gives precedence to without exception. It was a production in which interpretation was withheld, in any case not imposed, which at the utmost exhausted itself in an aestheticism of atmosphere and the illustrating gesture of geishas. The fact that the music profited from the scenic free space and its open temporal dimension, however, and was given every time frame necessary, made up for everything. (…)


Excerpt from a review, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23.12.2003