Haim, Emmanuelle

Monteverdi: Il ritorno di Ulisse in patria

24 Nov 2017

Barcode: 0190295738129

Composer: Claudio Monteverdi
Other participants: Rolando Villazón, Magdalena Kožená, Le Concert d'Astrée, Katherine Watson, Kresimir Spicer, Anne-Catherine Gillet, Isabelle Druet, Maarten Engeltjes, Callum Thorpe, Lothar Odinius, Jean Teitgen, Mathias Vidal, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, Jörg Schneider, Elodie Méchain

A highlight of the 2016-17 season at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris was this colourful and imaginative production of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (The return of Ulysses to his homeland), conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm, directed by Mariame Clément and starring Rolando Villazón as the Ancient Greek warrior Ulisse and Magdalena Kožená as his patient wife Penelope. As the French website Culturebox wrote: “The full richness of Monteverdi’s work is revealed.”

Reporting on the production at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Financial Times wrote: “Monteverdi’s 1640 opera has everything: humour, passion, horror, politics, violence and plenty of gore. Emmanuelle Haïm and her Concert d’Astrée are right at home with this music, giving it a refined, cultivated account full of precision and nuance. Mariame Clément brings a wealth of experience to the direction, which is full of well-crafted detail.” Clément took a characteristically eclectic approach, combining Classical Greek, Baroque and contemporary elements. As Opera magazine described it: “Clément housed the gods in the ‘Olympus Bar’ in a niche set high at the back of the stage, where they drank and played darts. Neptune looked like Tintin’s friend Captain Haddock and Iro was an overweight, hamburger-munching tourist in bermudas, while the shepherd Eumete became a street-cleaner. At one point banners carrying comic-strip onomatopoeia descended from the flies, and the palace in Ithaca was adorned with a soft-drinks dispenser.”