The Monteverdi 450 project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the trilogy of extant Monteverdi operas arduously and lavishly prepared by a pioneering conductor who is regarded as an icon of early music scholarship.
Although Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) has long been recognized as the father of opera, only three of his contributions to the form survive. 2017 marks the 450th anniversary of the Venetian master’s birth, and to celebrate this musical milestone, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir, and the English Baroque Soloists have announced an ambitious international tour, with concert performances of all three operas – L’Orfeo, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, andL’incoronazione di Poppea – in the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, and the USA, with the Harris Theater being its U.S. Premiere.
Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria
It has been twenty years since King Ulisse departed from his homeland of Ithaca to fight in the Trojan War. He left behind his beloved young wife, Queen Penelope, and infant son, Telemachus. No word has been heard from him since the war’s end ten years prior. The queen clings to the hope that her husband will return. Penelope spends her days mourning the absence of her husband, weaving on her loom and then unraveling the day’s work. Telemachus, now a young man, leaves Ithaca in search of his father. Ulisse finally returns to his homeland only to find, and the royal palace overrun with ambitious suitors seeking the crown of Ithaca and the prize attached to it – his beautiful and faithful Penelope.