'Il Ritorno D'Ulisse in Patria' is somewhat in the shadow of 'L'Orfeo' and especially 'L'Incoronazione Di Poppea' as far as Monteverdi operas go, but is actually every bit as great an opera as them.
Monteverdi's music is gorgeous, with a masterful connection to the poetry and text and making the characters as human and empathetic as possible, while the opera's story is intense, passionately youthful, poignant and wise, not as static as some early music operas are.
All the productions of 'Il Ritorno D'Ulisse in Patria' are well worth watching, with this, Jean Pierre Ponnelle's and Adrian Noble's particularly outstanding.
Visually, it's a beautiful-looking production. It doesn't try to do too much or over-complicate things by including anything that would swamp the drama on stage, instead adhering to the sparity, delicacy and melancholy of the work without ever looking cheap. Most of the costumes are lavish and elaborate, apart from the Madrid street clothes (somewhat) of the two leads.
Pier Luigi Pizzi's (an interesting and often imaginative director with the odd questionable touch in his productions) staging is restrained and intimate, but never static, over-simplistic or convoluted. It also retains the story's tension and poignancy.
Musically, the production is just brilliant all round. With an emphasis on refined expression, flexibility and understanding of the period style, there is a lot of energy and sensitivity in the orchestral playing as well as a wide range of colours and texture. As always William Christie's conducting is sympathetic to the drama but also alert to it, everything has room to breathe but when scenes need to come alive they do not fail to do so.
Kobie van Rensburg is noble, dignified and sympathetic in the title role, with a very pleasing vocal timbre. His Penelope Christine Rice is richly sung, sorrowful, wise and tender. Claire Debono as Minerva and Sonya Yoncheva as Giunone are sensual and vocally agile, while Luigi De Donato is a menacing Nettuno and not as vocally lightweight as he can be. ED Lyons manages his two contrasting characters deftly.
In conclusion, beautiful and powerful production and one of the best of Monteverdi's opera available. 10/10 Bethany Cox
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this