Claudio Monteverdi – Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria

Posted By: d'Avignon
Claudio Monteverdi – Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria

Claudio Monteverdi – Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria
2008 | Label: Virgin | 4 9061 | Classical/Opera/Baroque | XviD 993kbs/25000fps/16:9 | 178vbr mp3 | covers+booklet | language: Italian+Eng/Ger/Fr/Sp/Ita .srt | 2h58m | 1.5GB

Claudio Monteverdi – Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria

Claudio Monteverdi – Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria

Claudio Monteverdi – Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria

Claudio Monteverdi – Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria

I take it I won’t have to give an outline of the plot of this opera, which covers the final books of Homer’s Odyssey. You’ll all be familiar with the story of the bow. Penelope, who’d been harassed by several suitors all wanting to marry the supposedly widowed beauty, finally vowed she’d consider him her new husband who could bend Odysseus’ bow. None of them could string it, until the hero himself turned up, unrecognizable in a beggar’s outfit; he strung the weapon and shot the suitors one by one. After which the reunited couple will have gone through their second honeymoon, but alas, Homer hardly used his epitheta ornantia for love scenes, so we’re left in the dark about the possibly “fair-curved Penelope”.

This release of Monteverdi’s opera has decidedly less trouble to get explicit than either Homer or Monteverdi; the first part shows us Rachid Ben Abdeslam allegorically representing Human Frailty…and very frail indeed, for the countertenor sings in the buff for a full eight minutes. If you ever thought there might be something wrong with males covering this vocal range (of course you didn’t), the aforelying vid bluntly proves you were dead wrong.
Must say, I was a bit baffled that full frontal nudity, so common in modern theatre as of the seventies, has apparently entered the sanctuary of serious opera as well. Nothing to be worried about, but er, well. We’re dealing with a Monteverdi creation…you remember those paintings showing the stern-looking old man…I wonder what he would have thought of it.

A man singing in a woman’s voice – nothing special about it, many albums containing Renaissance music host countertenors. But when Penelope appeared on stage, I got confused. At Marijana Mijanovic’s first notes I seriously thought I was listening to another countertenor; and as this lady’s looks are quite androgynous, I wondered if modernity in art hadn’t made things needlessly complicated. A countertenor playing the part of a woman; why not simply use a female contralto?
Googling her name, I discovered I’m not the first to mistake Mijanovic’s voice for a male one. She just sounds like that. So they did use a female contralto indeed.
Make no mistake about it, she has a grand voice. And a face which is capable of appearing serene and full of emotion at the same time, she's quite an interesting performer.

I haven’t yet finished watching this ultra-modern interpretation of the opera (it’s 3 hours long!) but I’m sure I’ll be confronted with many more confusing finds…delightful.

I used AutoGK for this rip. Conversion lasted for an eternity, but - very immodestly, I'll say the result is terrific.


Les Arts Florrisants – William Christie
Soloists of the Academie Europeenne de Musique d’Aix-en-Provence

Main singers:

Ulisse – Kresimir Spicer
Penelope – Marijana Mijanovic
Telemaco – Cyril Auvity
Eumete – Joseph Cornwell
Antinoo – Bertrand Bontoux
Anfinomo – Andreas Gisler
Pisandro – Christophe Laporte
Eurimaco – Zachary Stains