The Return of Ulysses (Pinchgut Opera) ★★★★

Reviewed by
ABR Arts

The Return of Ulysses (Pinchgut Opera) ★★★★

Reviewed by
ABR Arts

Some of the fascinating, indeed, frustrating aspects of the operas of Claudio Monteverdi include the lack of certainty in regard to both the authenticity of the various musical sources that have survived, and to exactly how these operas were performed, factors that influence performance choices made today. Orfeo, the earliest of his operas, and which has a secure place in the opera repertoire, is perhaps the best documented, but the two later Venetian operas, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and L’incoronazione di Poppea, are fragmentary at best.

In fact, the authorship of Ulisse has often been disputed, and the score exists in manuscript only as a three-act version in a library in Vienna, although there are several versions of the libretto extant. Ulisse had its first performance in Venice in 1640, followed immediately by a production in Bologna the same year, and then a revival in Venice the following year, an almost unprecedented operatic success for the time.

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