Idomeneo Libretto
English Translation

Idomeneo, King of Crete
Dramma per musica in three acts, K. 366


Cast:
IDOMENEO (Tenor)
IDAMANTE (Soprano or Tenor)
ILIA (Soprano)
ELETTRA (Soprano)
ARBACE (Tenor)
HIGH PRIEST (Tenor)
ORACLE (Bass)
CHORUS
Trojan captives, Cretan sailors, Cretan people, priests
BALLETT

Place: Crete
Time: After the Trojan War

Overture

ACT ONE

Ilia's apartments in the royal palace: in the background a gallery

FIRST SCENE
Ilia alone

Recitative
ILIA
When will my bitter misfortunes
be ended? Unhappy Ilia,
wretched survivor of a dreadful tempest,
bereft of father and brothers,
the victims' blood
spilt and mingled
with the blood of their savage foes,
for what harsher fate
have the gods preserved you? ...
Are the loss and shame
of Priam and Troy avenged?
The Greek fleet is destroyed, and Idomeneo
perhaps will be a meal for hungry fish ...
But what comfort is that to me, ye heavens,
if at the first sight of that valiant Idamante
who snatched me from the waves I forgot my hatred,
and my heart was enslaved before I realised
I was a prisoner.
O God, what a conflict of warring emotions
you rouse in my breast, hate and love!
I owe vengeance to him who gave me life,
gratitude to him who restored it …
O Ilia! o father, o prince, o destiny!
Ill‑fated life, o sweet death!
But yet does Idamante love me? …
Ah no; ungratefully
he sighs for Electra; and that Electra,
unhappy princess, an exile from Argos
and the torments of Orestes,
who fled, a wanderer, to these shores, is my rival.
Ruthless butchers,
how many of you surround me?… Then up and
shatter vengeance, jealousy, hate and love;
yes, shatter my unhappy heart!

No. 1 - Aria
ILIA
Father, brothers, farewell!
You are no more; I have lost you.
Greece, you are the cause;
and shall I now love a Greek?
I know that I am guilty
of abandoning my kin;
but I cannot bring myself,
o gods, to hate that face.

Recitative
ILIA
Alas, here is Idamante coming.
Unhappy heart,
you flutter and falter.
Oh grant me some respite from my torments!


SECOND SCENE
Idamante, Ilia, followers of Idamante

IDAMANTE
to his followers
Go, assemble the Trojans, and let the court
prepare to celebrate this day.
to Ilia
My grief is diminished
by one ray of sweet hope.
Minerva, protectress of Greece,
saved my father from the waves' fury;
his ships have been sighted at sea, not far from here;
Arbace is looking for the spot where his noble face
is kept from us.

ILIA
with irony
Fear not: Greece is protected
by Minerva, while all the wrath
of the gods has burst upon the Trojans.

IDAMANTE
Grieve no more over the Trojans' fate.
The son will do for them as much
as his father or any other generous victor
would. See, princess,
their woes are ended:
I give them back their freedom, and now
one prisoner alone remains among us, he who wears
the sweet chains in which your beauty binds him.

ILIA
What do I hear, my lord? Are the hatred and scorn
of the implacable gods for Ilium
not yet satisfied, now that its glorious walls
are destroyed ‑ ah, no longer walls
but a vast and level plain? Are our sad eyes
condemned to eternal weeping?

IDAMANTE
Venus has punished us and triumphs over us.
How my father ‑ alas the thought! -
suffered in the heart of the waves! Agamemnon,
finally a victim in Argos, bought his victory
dear, and the hostile goddess, still not content
with such massacre,
what did she do? She pierced my heart,
Ilia, with your lovely eyes,
more potent than her own,
and now avenges your sufferings on me.

ILIA
What are you saying?

IDAMANTE
Yes, Cytherea's son
has planted unknown torments
in my heart: to you Mars has brought
tears. and agitation, and Love, seeking revenge
on me for your wrongs, employed your lovely eyes
and your beauty ... But you
flush and flare up in anger at my love?

ILIA
I take ill
the bold ardour of these words. O God!
Consider, Idamante,
who your father is, and who mine was.

No. 2 - Aria
IDAMANTE
The fault is not mine, and you condemn me,
my love, because I adore you.
The fault is yours, tyrannical gods,
and I die of distress and pain
for a crime which is not mine.
If you so desire it, at your command
I will pierce this breast of mine;
I read it in your eyes, it's true,
but at least tell me with your lips,
and I will ask no other mercy.

Recitative
ILIA
watching the prisoners led in
Behold the wretched remnant of the Trojans,
saved from the enemy's fury.

IDAMANTE
Now I will break their bonds
and give them consolation.
aside
Ah! Why cannot I do as much for myself!


THIRD SCENE
Idamante, Ilia, Trojan prisoners, Cretan men and women
The prisoners' chains are removed; the prisoners show their gratitude.


IDAMANTE
Loosen their fetters, and today the world,
o faithful subjects of Sidon,
shall see two glorious peoples
united in the knot of friendship, bound together
in perfect harmony.
Helen armed Greece and Asia, but now
a new heroine
disarms and reunites Asia and Greece,
a princess more kindly and more lovely.

No. 3 - Chorus
CHORUS OF TROJANS AND CRETANS
Let us enjoy peace,
let Love triumph;
now every heart
will rejoice.

TWO CRETANS
Thanks to him who extinguished
the torches of war,
now the land
can have peace.

ALL
Let us enjoy peace, etc.

TWO TROJANS
We owe our liberty
to you,
merciful gods,
and to those lovely eyes.

ALL
Let us enjoy peace, etc.


FOURTH SCENE
Electra and the previous

Recitative
ELECTRA
in jealous excitement
My lord prince, you offend the whole of Greece
by protecting the enemy.

IDAMANTE
Let it suffice Greece to have seen her enemy
vanquished. Prepare yourself, o princess,
to see a deed more worthy of me,
to behold the vanquished happy.
seeing Arbace coming
Arbace approaches.


FIFTH SCENE
Arbace and the previous

IDAMANTE
fearful
But what do these laments forebode?

ARBACE
My lord,
most terrible news ...

IDAMANTE
anxious
Is my father
no longer alive?

ARBACE
No longer! What Mars
could not do till now Neptune,
that inexorable god, has done;
and the noblest of heroes, I now learn,
was drowned,
near a foreign shore!
Exit

IDAMANTE
Ilia, I am the unhappiest
of mortals! Now indeed
Heaven will have satisfied you ...
Cruel fate! ...
Let us hurry to the shore ... Alas, I am in despair.
Exit

ILIA
I still feel all too keenly Asia's wrongs,
and yet at the name, at the fate of a great hero
my heart must be moved,
and I cannot deny him my tears.
Exit sighing


SIXTH SCENE
Electra alone

ELECTRA
Is Idomeneo dead? … Heaven conspires
to cross me in everything. Idamante can,
at his will, dispose of an empire
and of his heart; and shall no shadow of hope
remain for me? Unfortunate and unhappy that I am,
I shall see, and Greece will see, to its shame,
a Trojan slave share the throne
and the bridal bed … In vain, Electra,
you love this ingrate …
Shall the daughter of a king, who has kings as vassals
suffer a lowly slave to aspire to these great honours?
Shame! Fury! Grief! I can bear it no more!

No. 4 - Aria
ELECTRA
In my heart I feel you all,
Furies of bitter Hades;
far from such fierce torment
be love, pity, or mercy.
Let her who stole that heart
which betrayed mine
feel my fury
and cruel revenge.
Exit


SEVENTH SCENE
A sea coast surrounded by crags, with an angry sea.
Ships' wreckage on the shore


No. 5 - Chorus
Chorus of seamen in distress
CHORUS NEARBY
Ye gods, have mercy!
Help, o just gods!
Turn your gaze on us ...

CHORUS IN THE DISTANCE
Ye gods, have mercy!
The sky, the sea, the wind
oppress us with fear ...

CHORUS NEARBY
Ye gods, have mercy!
Pitiless fate thrusts us
into the arms of dreadful death ...


EIGHTH SCENE

Mime
Neptune appears on the sea. He signs to the winds
to withdraw to their caves. The sea gradually calms
down. Idomeneo, seeing the god of the sea, begs for his
aid. Neptune, eyeing him grimly and threateningly,
plunges into the waves and disappears.


Recitative
IDOMENEO
We are here, safe at last.


NINTH SCENE
Idomeneo and followers

IDOMENEO
to his followers
O you who, braving the wrath
of Mars and Neptune,
followed me loyally
in victory and hardship,
leave me here alone a while to breath,
and to confide to my native sky
the anguish I have suffered.
Exeunt followers, and Idomeneo alone wanders
pensively on the shore.

The ocean is calm, the sweet breeze blows gently,
and the blond god
gilds the shores of the blue sea. Wherever I look,
everything is pleasant and peaceful.
I alone on these barren shores,
faint with anguish and want,
o Neptune, only I do not feel within me
that calm I attained in your kingdom.
O insane, hateful vow!
Cruel oath! Ah, which of the gods
preserved my life?
Which of you will help me?

No. 6 - Aria
IDOMENEO
I shall see about me
a lamenting shade
which night and day
will cry to me " I am innocent."
The blood spilt
from his pierced breast,
his pale corpse
will point out to me
my crime.
What horror,
what grief!
How many times
this heart
will die
of torment!
He sees a man approaching.

Recitative
IDOMENEO
Heavens! What do I see? Here, alas, is the unfortunate
victim approaching ... Must my hands
be the instruments? ... Accursed hands!
Savage, unjust gods! Detestable altars!


TENTH SCENE
Idamante, Idomeneo at a distance

IDAMANTE
Lonely shores, and you rugged cliffs,
bear witness to my sorrow and in kindness
give your shelter
to an agitated heart …
How your remote horror accords with the harshness of
my fate! …
I see amid the remnants
of wrecked ships an unknown warrior
on that beach … I would hear him,
comfort him, and change his anguish to gladness.
He approaches and addresses Idomeneo
Put aside your fear, o warrior, whoever you are;
here ready to aid you is one
who in this land has power to do so.

IDOMENEO
aside
The more I look at him,
the more I am consumed with grief.
to Idamante
I will be indebted to you
for the rest of my days. What reward
would you have of me?

IDAMANTE
The reward in my heart will be
the satisfaction of having
saved and protected you. Ah, my friend,
my own troubles have taught me all too well
to sympathise with those of others.

IDOMENEO
aside
Such a voice, such compassion pierces my heart!
to Idamante
Are you unhappy? What are you saying?
Are you misfortunes really so many?

IDAMANTE
The dearest object of my love,
o heavens,
the hero Idomeneo
lies dead in these depths.
But you sigh and weep.
Do you know Idomeneo?

IDOMENEO
No man is more
to be pitied than he; none can alleviate
his harsh fate.

IDAMANTE
What are you saying?
Is he still alive?
aside
Ye gods, my hopes return.
to Idomeneo
Ah tell me, my friend, tell me,
where is he? Where is that kind face
which shall restore my life?

IDOMENEO
But whence comes it,
that for him you nurture
such loving tenderness?

IDAMANTE
with emphasis
Ah, he is the father ...

IDOMENEO
interrupting impatiently
O God!
Speak, whose father is he?

IDAMANTE
wearily
He is my father!

IDOMENEO
to himself
Most pitiless gods!

IDAMANTE
Do you mourn with me
my father's fate?

IDOMENEO
sadly
My son! ...

IDAMANTE
joyfully
Ah, father! ... O gods,
where am I? ... What delight! ...
Beloved father, let me come to your breast ...
He tries to embrace him
and embrace ...
His father withdraws in agitation
Alas! Why do you spurn me?
You fly from me in despair ... but where?

IDOMENEO
Do not follow me! I forbid it!
It would have been better for you not to have
seen me here; beware of seeing me again!
He hurries away.

IDAMANTE
Ah, what icy horror numbs my senses ...
Hardly do I see and recognise him than,
at my tender words, he abruptly flees.
Alas! How did I offend him and how
have I deserved that anger and those threats?
I will follow and see, harsh fate,
what more cruel misfortune yet awaits me.

No. 7 - Aria
IDAMANTE
My beloved father
I find again, only to lose him.
He scorns and flies me,
trembling with horror.
I thought I would die
of joy and love,
but, cruel gods,
grief is killing me.
He goes out sadly.


Intermezzo
The sea is now calm. The Cretan troops who arrived with Idomeneo disembark. The warriors sing the following chorus in honour of Neptune. The Cretan women run up to embrace and welcome the arrivals and all give vent to their mutual joy in a dance, which ends with the chorus. Warlike march during the disembarkation.

No. 8 - March

No. 9 - Chorus
ALL
Let Neptune be honoured!
Let his name resound
and that god, the sovereign
of the sea, be adored.
It is meet that we should celebrate
in dance and music.

PART OF THE CHORUS
From afar he watches
Jove's anger
and in a moment
descends to the sea's depths,
where in his royal seat
he makes ready
and swiftly has
his great scaly steeds
harnassed.
From out the waves
robust tritons
jovially sound
their loud
trumpets around.
Daylight returns,
for Neptune's great trident
has power to tame
the raging sea.

ALL
Let Neptune be honoured! etc.

PART OF THE CHORUS
Neptune blows
on his golden shell,
his royal emblem.
Portunus,
still an infant,
plays with his dolphin
and with Amphitrite.
He made us victorious
over the god of Hades.
Lovely nereids,
adorable nymphs
who with Galatea
form a court
to the great goddess,
o give our thanks
to those gods
who allowed us
to dry our eyes.

ALL
Let Neptune be honoured! etc.
Now let the trumpets sound
and us go to prepare
solemn sacrifice.

ACT TWO
The royal apartments

FIRST SCENE
Arbace, Idomeneo

Recitative
ARBACE
I know all.

IDOMENEO
Proud of such mighty exploits,
I found fierce Neptune awaiting me at the strait

ARBACE
And I know, to your undoing,
that allied to Aeolus and Jupiter,
he convulsed his realm in turmoil ...

IDOMENEO
Yes, he extorted from me, as a tribute,
a human sacrifice.

ARBACE
Of whom?

IDOMENEO
Of the first person
who should approach me
without warning on the beach.

ARBACE
Tell me then,
whom did you first meet?

IDOMENEO
Steel yourself!
My son ...

ARBACE
growing faint
Idamante ... I grow faint ...

IDOMENEO
Give me advice, Arbace,
for pity's sake save my son for me!

ARBACE
reflecting, then resolute
He must find some other place to live, in some other land.
But it must be hidden from the people.
Meantime Neptune will be appeased
by other means, some other god
will protect him.


IDOMENEO
You counsel well; it is true ...
He sees Ilia approaching
Alas! Ilia approaches!
for a while pensive, then resolute
Let him go to Argos, and accompany Electra
to her native land ... so go to her, and to my son:
bid them make ready; prepare everything
with all speed, and keep the secret
I have confided to you;
to you, my dear loyal Arbace, we will owe
the son's life, the father's peace of mind.


SECOND SCENE
Idomeneo, Ilia

Recitative
ILIA
If ever the god of Delos
appeared in splendour on the Argive horizon,
he does so this day. O sire,
whose august presence
restores your beloved subjects to life,
You comfort their eyes which mourned you as dead.

IDOMENEO
Gentle princess, let sweet serenity
return to your own eyes, too;
end your long grief.
Ilia, I and all I own are at your disposal,
and it will be my concern
to offer you clear proof
of my friendship.

ILIA
I am sure of it, and I would be wrong to doubt it.

No. 11 - Aria
ILIA
If I have lost my father,
my country and my peace of mind,
to Idomeneo
you are now a father to me,
and Crete is for me
a blessed land to stay.
Now I recall no more
my anguish and distress;
now heaven has given me
joy and contentment
to compensate for my loss.
Exit


THIRD SCENE
Idomeneo, alone

Recitative
IDOMENEO
How her ambiguous words
disturb my mind! ... Why does
the Phrygian princess suddenly, in her situation,
show such tempestuous joy? She expresses
tender feelings for the prince ...
Could they perhaps be, alas,
feelings of love, the joy of hope? ...
I am not mistaken, their love is mutual.
Idamante, you were too quick
to loose those chains ... This was the crime
for which heaven punishes you ... Yes, there will
be three victims for Neptune on the same altar,
afflicted with like pain -
son, father and Ilia,
one pierced by the knife, two by grief.

No. 12b - Aria
IDOMENEO
Saved from the sea, I have a raging sea
more fearsome than before within my bosom,
and Neptune does not cease
his threats even in this.
Stern god! Tell me at least,
if my body was so close to shipwreck,
for what cruel purpose
was that wreck withheld?
Exit


FOURTH SCENE
Electra alone

Recitative
ELECTRA
What sweeter pleasure than mine was ever felt?
I leave, and the one being
I love and adore, o gods,
comes with me? Ah, my heart
cannot contain such joy!
Away from my rival,
I shall succeed with caresses and endearments,
so that the fire
I could not quench before
no longer burns for her eyes but blazes for mine.

No. 13 - Aria
ELECTRA
My dearest, if reluctantly
your other lover yields you to me,
constrained love does not deter me,
and your coldness is more alluring to me.
Passion close at hand will drive
from your heart more distant fires;
the hand of love has more power
when the beloved is near.
A harmonious march is heard in the distance.

No. 14 - March and Recitative
ELECTRA
In the distance I hear the sweet sound
summoning me aboard; well then, I must go.
Exit in haste.
The march is heard ever closer as the scene is changed.



FIFTH SCENE
The port of Sidon, with ships along the shore
Electra, bands of Argives, Cretans and sailors


Recitative
ELECTRA
Shores of Sidon, you hostile,
harsh spot which saw my tears, my grief, my love;
now that a more compassionate star
takes me from you, I forgive you;
I go in peace and gladness,
leave you at last, and say a final farewell.

No. 15 - Chorus
CHORUS
The sea is calm; let us go;
everything is reassuring;
we shall have good fortune;
come, let us leave at once!

ELECTRA
Blow,
gentle breezes only;
calm the anger
of the icy north wind;
be generous
with your pleasing breath
which spreads
love everywhere.

CHORUS
The sea is calm, etc.


SIXTH SCENE
Idomeneo, Idamante, Electra, the king's retinue

Recitative
IDOMENEO
Go then, prince.

IDAMANTE
Oh heaven!

IDOMENEO
You tarry too long.
Go, and let the clear fame
of a thousand heroic deeds herald your return.
If you wish to learn the art of ruling
begin now by giving help to the unfortunate,
and becoming ever more worthy of
your father and yourself.

No. 16 - Trio
IDAMANTE
Before leaving, allow me,
o gods, to place a kiss
on my father's hand.

ELECTRA
Let my heart express through my lips
a grateful farewell;
farewell, noble king.

IDOMENEO
to Electra
Go then and be happy.
to Idamante
This is your lot, my son.

ALL
Answer our prayer, o heaven!

ELECTRA
How great are my hopes!

IDAMANTE
I go!
aside
But my heart remains here.

ALL
Farewell!

IDOMENEO, IDAMANTE
to themselves
Cruel destiny!

IDAMANTE
to himself
O Ilia!

IDOMENEO
to himself
O my son!

IDAMANTE
O my father! To part!

ELECTRA
Ye gods, what will happen?

ALL
O may this agitation cease
and heaven stretch out
a hand in compassion.

As they are about to embark, a storm suddenly springs up.

No. 17 - Chorus
CHORUS
What new terror!
What hoarse roaring!
The gods' fury
has whipped up the sea.
Neptune, have mercy!

The storm increases, the sea rises: the storm approaches, the sea swells. Thunder and lightning. The ships are struck by lightning. A terrible monster appears from out of the sea.

CHORUS
What hate, what anger
Neptune shows us!
What is our sin,
that heaven rages?
Who is the guilty one?

Recitative
IDOMENEO
Here he is, cruel god! I am the guilty one!
I alone have sinned; punish me alone and let
your wrath fall on me. May my death
at last satisfy you; but if you claim
another victim in my place, I cannot give you
an innocent one, yet if you demand him,
you are unjust, and cannot claim him.
The storm continues. The frightened Cretans flee and, in the following chorus, express their terror in song and mime, the whole forming a movement suitable to end the act with the usual Divertimento.

No. 18 - Chorus
CHORUS
Let us run, let us fly
from that pitiless monster!
Ah, we are already his prey!
Treacherous fate,
who is crueller than you?

ACT THREE
The royal garden

FIRST SCENE
Ilia alone

Recitative
ILIA
Friendly solitude, amorous breezes,
blossoming plants and lovely flowers, hearken
to the laments of an unhappy lover who,
forsaken, confides in you.
How much it costs my afflicted heart to keep silent
and pretend, when close to him who conquered it!

No. 19 - Aria
ILIA
Gently caressing zephyrs,
oh fly to my beloved
and tell him I adore him
and to keep his heart true to me.
And you plants and tender flowers
which my bitter tears water,
tell him that you never saw
a love more rare beneath the sky.

Recitative
ILIA
He himself is coming … O heaven! …
Shall I speak or be silent?
Shall I remain, or leave, or hide? …
Ah, I cannot decide! I am confused!


SECOND SCENE
Idamante, Ilia

Recitative
IDAMANTE
Princess, if I still dare
to offer myself to your sight, a bold passion
no longer guides me; now I seek no more
than to ask your forgiveness, and to die.

ILIA
Die? You, prince?

IDAMANTE
The longer I stay, the more I burn with love for you,
and my guilt weighs more heavily; ah, why delay
the punishment?

ILIA
But what is causing you
to seek death?

IDAMANTE
My father,
full of rage and fury,
eyes me grimly and avoids me
without revealing the reason.
Ensnared by your chains, your harshness
exposes me to new torments. A savage monster
wreaks dreadful havoc far and wide;
now I must go to fight it
and try to destroy it
‑ or may death end my torments!

ILIA
O prince, calm this melancholy ferment:
recall that you are the sole hope
of a great empire.

IDAMANTE
Without your love,
without you, Ilia, nothing matters to me.

ILIA
Poor me! … Oh preserve your life.

IDAMANTE
I must pursue my cruel fate.

ILIA
No, live … Ilia implores you.

IDAMANTE
O gods, what do I hear?
Adored princess! ...

ILIA
My troubled heart
cannot conceal from you
my weakness;
in my breast too much love and fear
are mingled.

IDAMANTE
Do I hear aright? Or does my hearing only imagine
what it longs for? Or does my ardent passion
excite my senses so that a sweet dream
flatters my oppressed heart?

ILIA
Ah, why did I not perish
before disclosing my passion? My soul
is overwhelmed with remorse. My sacred duty,
my honour, my country, my kinsmen's blood
still hot, oh how they reproach
the rebellious love in my heart! …
But what can I do? Now that I see you
in deadly danger, my dearest,
and only I can save you, hear me, I tell you again:
I love you! I adore you! And if you wish to die,
grief will already have killed me before you can do so.

No. 20a - Duet
IDAMANTE
If I do not die at these words
it is not true that love can kill
and that joy oppresses the heart.

ILIA
No more grief, no more lamenting!
I will be constant and true to you;
you are my only treasure!

IDAMANTE
You shall be ...

ILIA
As you desire me.

IDAMANTE
My bride ...

ILIA
Will you be
my bridegroom?

IDAMANTE, ILIA
Let love speak!
Ah, our joy banishes
the cruel torments we have suffered;
our love is all‑conquering.


THIRD SCENE
Idomeneo, Electra and the previous

Recitative
IDOMENEO
aside
Heavens! What do I see?

ILIA
to Idamante
Ah, we are discovered, beloved!

IDAMANTE
to Ilia
Do not fear, my love.

ELECTRA
aside
Ungrateful Idamante!

IDOMENEO
aside
I suspected the truth. Ah harsh fate!

IDAMANTE
My lord ‑ I dare no longer
call you father ‑ I pray you,
grant one favour
to your unhappy subject.

IDOMENEO
Speak!

ELECTRA
aside
What will he say?

IDAMANTE
In what have I ever offended you? Why do you fly
from me, hate me and shun me?

ILIA
aside
I tremble.

ELECTRA
aside
And so you should.

IDOMENEO
My son, Neptune, incensed against me,
has frozen my heart; every tenderness of yours
doubles my torment, all your sorrow
weighs on my heart, and I cannot look at you
without a shudder of horror.

ILIA
aside
O God!

IDAMANTE
Perhaps it is my fault that Neptune is wroth?
But what is my offence?

IDOMENEO
Ah, if I could placate him
without you!

ELECTRA
aside
Could I now avenge
my wrongs!

IDOMENEO
to Idamante
Leave, I command you!
Flee your native shore and seek
safe refuge elsewhere.

ILIA
Alas!
to Electra
Compassionate princess, comfort me!

ELECTRA
I comfort you? How?
aside
She shamelessly
insults me still further.

IDAMANTE
Then I must go! ... But whither? ...
O Ilia! ... O father!

ILIA
resolutely
I desire to follow you, beloved, or to die.

IDAMANTE
Oh remain here, my dearest, and live in peace.
Farewell!

No. 21 - Quartet
IDAMANTE
I will go on my wanderings alone,
seeking death elsewhere
until I find it.

ILIA
You will have me as a companion in your grief
wherever you go,
and where you die I too will die.

IDAMANTE
Ah, no!

IDOMENEO
Pitiless Neptune!
Who, in mercy, will take my life?

ELECTRA
aside
When shall I be revenged?

IDAMANTE, ILIA
to Idomeneo
Calm your angry brow!

IDOMENEO, IDAMANTE, ILIA
Ah, my heart is breaking.

ALL
To suffer more is impossible.
Such great grief
is worse than death.
No one ever suffered
a harsher fate
or greater punishment,

Idamante leaves in sorrow.


FOURTH SCENE
Arbace, Idomeneo, Ilia, Electra

Recitative
ARBACE
Sire, at your palace a vast crowd
is gathered, loudly clamouring
for you to speak.

ILIA
aside
Prepare yourself, my heart,
for some new distress.

IDOMENEO
aside
My son is lost!

ARBACE
The High Priest of Neptune
is at their head.

IDOMENEO
aside
Alas, the situation is desperate!
to Arbace
I understand, Arbace,

ELECTRA
aside
What new disaster?

ILIA
aside
Are the people rebelling? ...

IDOMENEO
I go now to hear them.
He leaves, confused.

ELECTRA
I will follow you!
Exit

ILIA
I will go with you too.
Exit


FIFTH SCENE
Arbace alone

Recitative
ARBACE
Unhappy Sidon, what gloomy aspects of
destruction, horror and death do I see in you?
Ah, you are no longer Sidon,
you are the city of tears and this palace
that of sorrow! … Then does heaven
deny us all pity? … Who knows? I still hope
that some friendly god
will be satisfied with so much blood; a single god
could save us from all this. Severity
would yield to clemency … But as yet I do not know
who would look on us with pity … Ah, heaven is deaf!
I see all Crete ending
her glory deep in ruins!
No, ere this her miseries will not be ended!


SIXTH SCENE
A large square adorned with statues in front of the royal palace, the facade of which is seen atone side.
Idomeneo, accompanied by Arbace and the royal retinue, enters and sits down on a throne reserved for public audiences. High Priest and a large crowd of people.


No. 23 Recitative
HIGH PRIEST
Gaze around you, sire, and see
what dreadful devastation the savage monster
has wrought in your noble kingdom! Behold
the pools of blood
in the public streets! At every step
you will see someone groaning, giving up
the ghost from a body swollen with black poison.
Thousands upon thousands lie dead and buried
in that immense and hideous belly
whom I myself saw perish.
That maw is foul
with blood and ever greedy.
On you alone depends
our fate; only you can save from death
the rest of your people, who cry out
in despair and implore your help;
yet you still hesitate? ... Sire, to the temple!
Who is the victim, and where is he? ... Render unto
Neptune that which is his ...

IDOMENEO
No more! Holy priest,
and my people, listen:
the victim is Idamante, now you shall see,
o gods, with what bearing
a father slays his own son.
He goes off agitated

No. 24 - Chorus
THE PEOPLE
O terrible vow!
Dreadful sight!
Death now reigns,
and opens wide the gates
of the fearful abyss.

HIGH PRIEST
O merciful heaven!
The son is innocent
and the vow inhuman;
stay the hand
of this pious father.

THE PEOPLE
O terrible vow! etc.
Everyone leaves in sorrow.



SEVENTH SCENE
The exterior of the magnificent temple of Neptune, with a vast forecourt surrounding it, across which the seashore can be seen in the distance.
The forecourt and the galleries of the temple are filled with a crowd of people. The priests are preparing the sacrifice. Enter Idomeneo, accompanied by a large and splendid retinue.


No. 25 - March

No. 26 - Cavatina with Chorus
IDOMENEO
O king of the sea, receive our prayers;
abate your anger, your severity.

PRIESTS
O king of the sea, receive our prayers;
abate your anger, your severity.

IDOMENEO
Let the east and south winds return to their caves:
let the gentle breeze return to the sea and
the fury cease! Accept the heartfelt repentance
of your devotees, and grant us your favour.

PRIESTS
O king of the sea, etc.

CHORUS
Resounding victory!
Eternal is your glory!
Triumph, o lord!

Recitative
IDOMENEO
What is this applause of victory
which resounds about me?


EIGHTH SCENE
Arbace in haste and the previous

ARBACE
Sire, the prince,
heroic Idamante, in despair
courting death
has triumphed over it. He threw himself furiously
upon the savage monster, overcame it and killed it.
We are saved at last.

IDOMENEO
Alas! Neptune
will be moved to new fury
against us ... Now, Arbace,
to your sorrow you will see
that Idamante found what he was seeking,
and he himself
will be death's booty.

ARBACE
seeing Idamante being led in
What do I see! ... O gods!


NINTH SCENE
Idamante in a white robe, with a garland of flowers on his head, surrounded by guards and priests. A mass of dejected people, and the previous.

No. 27 - Recitative
IDAMANTE
Father, my dear father! Oh sweet name!
Behold me at your feet! In this last
fatal moment. Before your hand
must strike the blow that empties your blood
from my veins, accept a last kiss.
Now I realise that your agitation
arose not from anger but from paternal love.
A thousand times
fortunate is Idamante
if he who gave him life takes life from him,
and taking it, offers it to heaven,
that in exchange heaven may ensure his own
and he obtain lasting peace for his people
and the sacred and true love of the gods.

IDOMENEO
My son! My dear son! ...
Forgive me: this dreadful task
is not my choice, but ordained by fate ...
barbarous, inhuman fate! ... Ah no, I cannot
raise the brutal axe
against my innocent son;
strength fades from every fibre of my being,
and dark night clouds my eyes ... O my son! ...

IDAMANTE
wearily, then with resolution
O father! ...
Do not let useless pity stop you,
nor the vain fondness of love
beguile you. Let the blow fall
that will relieve both of us from our distress.
But why delay further? I am ready; make
the sacrifice, fulfil the vow.

IDOMENEO
Oh, how I feel
unwonted strength in every vein ...
Now I am resolved ... receive
my last embrace ... and die.

IDAMANTE, IDOMENEO
O God!

IDAMANTE
aside
Alas, Ilia!
to Idomeneo
Be happy,

IDAMANTE, IDOMENEO
Farewell.


TENTH SCENE
Ilia in haste, Electra and the previous

ILIA
running to restrain Idomeneo
Stop, sire! What are you doing?

IDOMENEO
I must sacrifice the victim
I promised to Neptune.

IDAMANTE
Ilia, be calm ...

HIGH PRIEST
to Ilia
Do not disturb the sacrifice ...

ILIA
In vain
that axe seeks to wound
another's breast. Here is mine, sire;
I am your victim.
A willing victim
is always more pleasing to the gods.

IDAMANTE
My beloved l Ah, give me
a last pledge of your love.

ILIA
I offer my blood.

IDAMANTE
Ah no, leave me the glory
of dying in peace for my country.

ILIA
I am the appointed one ...

IDAMANTE
O God! My duty calls!

ILIA
My gratitude is great,
but my love reprieves you.
Neptune, here is my blood!
She runs to the altar and is about to kneel.

IDAMANTE
holding her back
Either live and go now,
or we will die together.

ILIA
No, I wish to cross the last stream alone.
Now, holy priest …
She kneels before the High Priest.

A loud noise is heard underground,. Neptune's statue shakes;  the High Priest is in ecstasy before the altar. A deep and solemn voice makes the following pronouncement from heaven.


No. 28d - La Voce
THE VOICE
Love has triumphed ... Idomeneo
shall cease to reign; Idamante shall be king, and Ilia
his bride ... Then will Neptune be appeased,
heaven contended and innocence rewarded.

No. 29 - Recitative
IDOMENEO
O merciful heaven! ...

IDAMANTE
Ilia ...

ILIA
Idamante, did you hear?

ARBACE
O joy! What love, ye gods!

ELECTRA
O madness! Ye furies ...
Despairing Electra.
Must I see Idamante in my rival's arms?
Ah no, let me follow
my brother Orestes into the hollow abyss.
Now you will have me
for companion in Hades,
in eternal woe, in endless lamenting.

No. 29a - Aria
ELECTRA
Within my breast I feel
the torments of Orestes and of Ajax;
Alecto's torch
brings me death.
Tear out my heart,
you horned serpents,
or a sword
shall end my pain.
Exit in fury


FINAL SCENE
Idomeneo, Idamante, Ilia, Arbace, retinues of Idomeneo, Idamante and Ilia; populace

No. 30 - Recitative
IDOMENEO
My people! Idomeneo gives you his last command
as king. I announce peace.
The sacrifice is completed, my vow redeemed.
Neptune and all the gods smile upon this kingdom.
One thing remains, that Idomeneo
now obey their demand. O mighty gods,
how I welcome your command!
Here is another king for you, my other self.
To Idamante my son, my dear son,
I relinquish the throne of Crete together with all
sovereign power. Respect his commands,
and follow them obediently,
as you have followed and respected mine,
for which I am grateful to you! Thus I now order.
And here is the royal bride! Behold
in this handsome pair a gift bestowed on you
by heaven. You have so much to hope for!
O fortunate Crete! What happiness for me!

No. 30a - Aria
IDOMENEO
Peace returns to my heart
and extinguished ardour is rekindled;
youth is reborn in me.
Thus does Flora's season
make the old tree bloom again
and give it fresh vigour.

There follows the coronation of Idamante, which is performed in mime,. and the chorus is sung during the coronation and the dancing.

No. 31 - Chorus
CHORUS
Descend, Love and Hymen,
descend, June, to the royal pair;
benign goddess, now instil
the peace of your spirit in their breasts.