English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir
Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Like L’incoronazione di Poppea, ‘The return of Ulysses to his homeland’ is a late work, composed in what would prove to be an operatic Indian summer for a composer now advancing into his 70s yet still full of inspiration.
It is a tale of fidelity rewarded, steadfastness repaid, and craven opportunism vanquished as the much-delayed Ulysses finally arrives home after the Trojan War to find his wife Penelope besieged by suitors. In an edge-of-seat trial each attempts to string Ulysses’ bow. Each fails – until a disguised Ulysses triumphs and despatches them. But even now the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly since Penelope can’t accept that her husband is who he claims to be.
First performed at the 1639/40 Venice Carnival, ‘Ulisse’ captivated audiences. Despite its mythological origins this is an all too human story, lovingly told. It captivates still.
Sung in Italian with surtitles.
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