Fogeys of all ages may decry to their hearts’ content the routine vandalism of hotshot directors who ride roughshod over operatic texts we hold sacred. A singer with a career to make has no choice but to buy in, trusting voice and animal magnetism to win the day. In the Bayerische Staatsoper’s latest production of the 20-something Mozart’s breakout masterpiece Idomeneo, the Toronto-born mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo shows how.
The title role of the opera belongs to the King of Crete, who is just returning home from the Trojan War. D’Angelo appears as his son, Idamante, the straightest of straight arrows—Dullsville, potentially, but for his electric entanglements. For one thing, Idamante is in the crosshairs of two rival princesses. For another, the long-lost father he idolizes has accidentally promised him as a sacrifice to Neptune. When the divine patience runs out, guess who steps up to save the island from an irate sea monster?