Claudio Monteverdi: Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria

Claudio Monteverdi: Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria

by Alan Curtis
     
 

Claudio Monteverdi's "Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria" (The Return of Ulysses to His Homeland, 1639) is a work that musicologists have tried their best to stab in the back, perhaps because it didn't seem to fit so neatly into the inexorable march of operatic history as did its better-known successor, "L'incoronazione di Poppea." The opera's attribution to Monteverdi has… See more details below

Overview

Claudio Monteverdi's "Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria" (The Return of Ulysses to His Homeland, 1639) is a work that musicologists have tried their best to stab in the back, perhaps because it didn't seem to fit so neatly into the inexorable march of operatic history as did its better-known successor, "L'incoronazione di Poppea." The opera's attribution to Monteverdi has been questioned several times, and even the endorsement given by the liner-note writer of this disc is lukewarm ("Yet uneven as it may be, the work is well-constructed..."). The opera has often found favor with audiences and musicians, however, and their judgment is perhaps to be trusted over that of the scholars. The work was a hit at its premiere, and quite a few composers, including such unlikely candidates as Hans Werner Henze, have made adaptations of it. The libretto retells the events of Homer's Odyssey fairly straightforwardly, albeit with some detours into the experiences of minor characters. The melancholy vigil of Penelope as she waits for the return of her husband Ulysses makes for material ideally suited to Monteverdi's late style, and there are moments scattered throughout that are fully the equal of anything in "Poppea." This 1991 live performance, recorded in Siena, was conducted by Alan Curtis, who created a modern edition of the opera. Part of the work's problem has been that it survives in fragmentary scores that demand interpretation from modern editors and performers; it has been performed with everything from a sparse accompaniment to a full late-Baroque orchestra. Curtis' approach comes in somewhere in the middle, with a moderate array of plucked and bowed strings and some improvisatory freedom. Curtis did much in his edition to eliminate corruptions that had crept into the score, and as a conductor he is the perfect choice to shape the opera convincingly. The original 1995 release of this performance is now out of print, but Curtis' interpretation is looking better and better as time goes by. As a live performance, it has all the usual advantages and disadvantages; several of the singers, most noticeably Gloria Banditelli as Penelope, get off to a slow start. But there's a feeling of excitement and an apparent high degree of commitment among the cast that make this a good choice for listeners wanting to expand their knowledge of Monteverdi's music.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/10/2009
Label:
Nuova Era
UPC:
0885150317747
catalogNumber:
231774
Rank:
276979

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, opera in 3 acts, SV 325  - Claudio Monteverdi  - Alan Curtis  -  Gloria Banditelli  - Gian Paolo Fagotto  - Harry van der Kamp  - Guillemette Laurens  - Daniela del Monaco  -  Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca  - Mark Tucker  - Caterina Calvi  - Giovanni Battista Palmieri  - Giacomo Badoaro  - Leroy Villanueva  - Jacklin Carkci  - Ivan Kiurkciev  - Nicholas Nackley

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