The reviews are in: Opera San José’s 28th season

Arts / Article

By Margot Helm, Opera San José 

Opera San José, a Knight Arts grantee, proudly opened its 28th Season on September 10th, with the company premiere of Mozart’s Idomeneo. Made possible by the generous support of David W. Packard and the Packard Humanities Institute, this epic production has been met with critical acclaim and garnered high praise from audience members alike.

Guided by Mr. Packard’s creative vision, the production was strongly influenced by his archaeological interests in the Minoan and Mycenaean Bronze Ages- a rare and appropriate choice of setting for Mozart’s opera seria based on ancient Greek mythology. With its dazzling combination of breathtaking costumes, enormous sets, and painting executed by a firm that specializes in architectural restoration, Idomeneo is, by far, the most ambitious project ever mounted by Opera San José. Together with an excellent orchestra, talented designers and directors, graceful dancers from Ballet San Jose, and two stellar casts, the production has won rave reviews from critics throughout the Bay Area (click on the links to read complete articles):

  • “Musical forces radiated from the magical spells cast by Maestro George Cleve, one of the great Mozartians of our era. He led both singers and instrumentalists with finesse…world-class efforts from Opera San Jose’s fine team of production specialists, as well as a galaxy of marvelous vocalists and musicians.” –Mort Levine, Milpitas Post
  • “The exciting new production of Mozart’s Idomeneo being staged…by Opera San José…is a jaw-dropper: sets that reproduce the Palace of Knossos in ancient Crete; a troupe of dancers from Ballet San Jose; a 40-voice chorus; plus 180 costumes and a sacrificial altar. And, oops, almost forgot — an excellent cast…Cleve and his players did full justice to the score, building small gestures into long dramatic arcs, capturing effects both storming and delicate, building a running dialogue between orchestra and singers.”–Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News
  • “…a stretch of elegant pageantry…vividly colorful and done with a keen sense of Mozartean style…the evening’s most striking aspect was the physical production, with sets by Steven C. Kemp, costumes by Johann Stegmeir and lighting by Christopher Ostrom.”–Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
  • “To attend such an excellent production in the ideal 1,114-seat California Theatre is a rare and special opportunity.”–Thomas Busse, San Francisco Classical Voice

This spectacular production is highly recommended for audience members with a wide variety of interests: fans of Mozart, opera, classical music, theater and costume design, Greek history or archaeology will all be enchanted by this feast for the senses. Tickets to the remaining performances of Opera San José’s production of Idomeneo can be purchased online at or through our box office at 408.437.4450.