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Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point, Sydney


Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Running Time

Approximately 3 hours, including one interval.

Please note

Please note this production contains adult themes, flashing lights, and theatrical haze.

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“Far from the sea, a storm rages within me, fiercer and far more painful.” – Idomeneo

Drowning at sea in a vicious storm, the King of Crete makes a terrible vow to Neptune. To save his ship and his men, he will sacrifice the first human life he encounters on land. Bound by his rash promise, Idomeneo comes ashore and meets his own son. The choice he makes next sets the vengeance of the gods upon the people of Crete.

Rooted in the ancient mythology of the Trojan War’s aftermath, Mozart’s epic opera remains a story for our time. It explores human themes we recognise today: the fallout of war, natural catastrophe, grief, love and human frailty.

In Lindy Hume’s new production, the human emotion and mythic power of the drama is reflected in an immersive set evoking the epic seas, skies and rugged coastline of ancient Crete.

A vivid showpiece of the composer’s power, brilliance, sweeping scope and idealism, Mozart wrote Idomeneo when he was just 25 years old. Renowned opera conductor Johannes Fritzsch conducts a brilliant cast featuring German-Canadian tenor Michael Schade making his Opera Australia debut in the title role alongside talented Australians Caitlin Hulcup, Celeste Lazarenko and Emma Pearson.

“There is much to delight the eye and ear, and inspire hearts and minds in this new production ★★★★”



The music

Cast & Creative

Set Designer
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Video Designer
Set Design Consultant
Assistant Director
High Priest
Voice of Neptune

Opera Australia Chorus
Opera Australia Orchestra

Idomeneo at Palais Theatre, St Kilda (2023)

Cheat Sheet: Idomeneo

A cheat's guide to Mozart’s opera of impulsive oaths and divine intervention.

What happens in the story? Who was the composer? What should I expect from the music? Here’s everything you need to know…

Read the cheat sheet
Idomeneo at Palais Theatre, St Kilda (2023)

Five essential musical moments from Idomeneo

Idomeneo is arguably Mozart’s first great opera. Learn more about its extraordinary music.

Find out more

Bringing Mozart's Ancient Crete to Sydney

Director Lindy Hume explains how she’s bringing the world of Mozart’s Idomeneo to life in a stunning new staging.

Find out more
Overture Dining at the Sydney Opera House

Enjoy dinner before the opera

Overture Dining at Sydney Opera House

Allow us to make your dinner reservation for you: at Overture Dining in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre. You’ll be served a three-course menu for just $97.

See the menu

The Design Sketches


The opera is set on the Island of Crete, shortly after the Trojan War. 


Ilia, daughter of the defeated Trojan King Priam, expresses conflicting emotions – love for her rescuer Idamante, son of the Cretan King Idomeneo, and hatred for her father’s Greek enemies. Idamante frees the Trojan prisoners in a gesture of good will. Trojans and Cretans welcome his action, but Elettra, daughter of the Greek King Agamemnon, does not approve of Idamante’s clemency toward the enemy prisoners. Arbace, the King’s confidant, brings news that Idomeneo has been lost at sea while returning to Crete from Troy. Elettra, sensing Idamante’s love for Ilia and fearing her Trojan rival may become Queen of Crete, invokes the furies of the underworld.

In a storm at sea, Idomeneo is saved from drowning by making a vow to Neptune (God of the Sea) to sacrifice, once safely on land, the first living creature he should meet. Idamante comes looking for his father. When Idomeneo realises the youth that he must sacrifice for the sake of his vow is his own child, he orders Idamante away from him. Idamante is griefstricken by his father’s rejection. The Cretans praise Neptune for Idomeneo’s safe arrival home.

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