Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
Klaus-Michael Grüber (director), Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor) — With Vesselina Kasarova (Penelope), Dietrich Henschel (Ulisse), Jonas Kaufmann (Telemaco)...
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Klaus-Michael Grüber — Stage director
Gilles Aillaud — Set designer
Eva Dessecker — Costume designer
Jürgen Hoffmann — Lighting designer
Vesselina Kasarova — Penelope
Malin Hartelius — Melanto
After ten years battling in the Trojan War—and another ten on an epic journey homeward—Ulysses returns to his homeland. Disguised as a beggar, the king of Ithaca must recover his wife, his son, and his people...
Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (Venice, 1640), directed here by Klaus-Michael Grüber and conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt ("The musical adventurer par excellence, the scholarly conductor with temperament, the thinking musician who makes music with rough edges“—Gramophone), achieves a perfect dramatic balance, stirring the imagination and instantly transporting the viewer to a long-ago time. The all-star cast features one of the earliest recorded appearances by the great Jonas Kaufmann, who makes his presence felt as Ulisse's son Telemaco!
Claudio Monteverdi was a key player not only in creating the opera as we know it; he also spent nearly forty years after 1607's L'Orfeo experimenting and innovating in the form, contributing to the evolution of the musical-artistic genre that—for centuries, until the advent of cinema—would dominate Western cultural life. Ulisse is one of his three extant operas, all of which are among the highest achievements of the form.