Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (The Return of Ulysses)

This page lists all recordings of Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (The Return of Ulysses), by Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (1567-1643) on CD, DVD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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August 2012

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Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Live Recording from The Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 1973


Benjamin Luxon (Ulisse), Janet Baker (Penelope), Anne Howells (Minerva) & Robert Lloyd (Nettuno), Vivien Townley (Giunone), Ian Caley (Telemaco), Laureen Livingstone (Amore), David Hughes (Giove), Alexander Oliver (Iro), Ugo Trama (Antinoo), John Fryatt (Pisandro), Bernard Dickerson (Anfinomo), Richard Lewis (Eumete), Virginia Popova (Ericlea), John Wakefield (Eurimaco), Janet Hughes (Melanto), Annabel Hunt (Umana Fragilità)

The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Raymond Leppard (conductor) & Peter Hall (stage director)

Based on the Greek legend of Ulysses and his return to Ithaca after years in the Trojans wars, the opera Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria is one of the earliest operas of its kind. This seminal 1973 production is directed by Peter Hall and conducted by Raymond Leppard at the Glyndebourne Festival. The terrific cast and crew, particularly the outstanding Janet Baker and Benjamin Luxon, stage an impassioned production that is accentuated by the gorgeous visual design. Monteverdi’s music is of transcendental beauty. He took what had previously been rather monotonous, one-dimensional music drama and enriched it with a full musical expression complementing a coherent dramatic experience, picking up the existing art of drama. With full justification, he can therefore be called the real founder of opera.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3

DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC

Subtitle Languages: IT (Original Language), DE, GB, FR, ES

Running Time: 148 mins

FSK: 0

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Arthaus Musik - 102308

(DVD Video)

$20.25

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Live Recording from The Zurich Opera House, 2002


Vesselina Kasarova (Pénélope), Dietrich Henschel (L’humanita Fragilita/ Ulisse), Malin Hartelius (Melanto), Jonas Kaufmann (Telemaco), Rudolf Schasching (Iro), Isabel Rey (Minerva/ Amorei) & Martina Jankovà (Fortuna/ Giunone)

Orchestra La Scintilla of The Zurich Opera House, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor) & Klaus-Michael Grüber (stage director)

Set Design by GILLES AILLAUD

Il Ritorno d‘Ulisse in Patria is based closely on the fi nal books of Homer‘s Odyssey and is hailed as the key work marking the threshold between the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Together with producer Klaus Michael Grüber, Nikolaus Harnoncourt strikes a new balance between musical polish and distillation of the essence of dramatic action. „It is a kind of ‘théâtre pauvre’, which works with a few carefully chosen and powerful symbols“, was how the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung reviewed the production. The main action takes place on little more than an angled revolving stage in front of a whitewashed wall which hints at the landscape of a Greek island. The sets have an apt simplicity, eschewing fussy detail and spectacular effects. The colours are cool, predominantly white, blue and black, transporting us to a modern day. Harnoncourt’s musical drive has become „a touch gentler“, wrote the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel. „Not that Harnoncourt is now leaving things to chance or to the discretion of his exquisite musicians. But the way he communicates – his entire rostrum manner – seems to have become more relaxed, calmer, rounder, and both he and the listener are amply rewarded by the sound which results.“

Sound Format: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 9, NTSC

Subtitles: IT (Original Language), DE, GB, FR, ES, JP. KOR

Running Time: 155 mins

FSK: 0

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Arthaus Musik - 101660

(DVD Video)

$34.00

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Sung in Italian


Kobie van Rensburg (Ulisse), Christine Rice (Penelope), Cyril Auvity (Telemaco) & Joseph Cornwell (Eumete)

Les Arts Florissants, William Christie (conductor) & Pierluigi Pizzi (director)

Recorded: Teatro Real, Madrid, April 2009.

This is the second Monteverdi opera with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, made possible by collaboration between Dynamic and Teatro Real.

Dedicated to the performance of Baroque music on original instruments, the vocal and instrumental ensemble Les Arts Florissants is one of the most renowned and respected early music groups in Europe and around the world.

The DVD also features interviews with William Christie, Kobie van Rensburg and Christine Rice.

“Les Arts Florissants and William Christie have an individualised spontaneity yet breathe as one.” The Independent

Picture Format: 16:9

Audio Format: DD 5.1 / LPCM 2.0

Region Code: 0 – All regions

Running Time: 175 Min approx

Notes: I – GB - D - F

Subtitles: I - GB - D - F - SP

“The staging, direction and costumes are elegant, always adding a layer of explanation; the lighting is atmospheric but never murky; and the sound is clear and resonant. Above all, this production shows pace, coherence and understanding.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2010 *****

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Dynamic - 33641

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$34.00

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria


Benjamin Luxon, Janet Baker, Anne Howells, Ian Caley, Annabel Hunt, Patricia Greig, Brian Burrows

Glyndebourne Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Raymond Leppard, stage direction by Sir Peter Hall

Recording Date: 1973
Place of recording: Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Running Time: 176 min
Picture Format: 4:3
Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Language: I
Menu Languages NTSC: D, F, GB, SP
Subtitle Languages NTSC: D, F, GB, I, SP

“Janet Baker's searing Penelope and Luxon's noble wanderer, in keen rapport with Howells' delightful Minerva, head a magnificent cast. The recording has aged, but acceptably.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2006 *****

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Arthaus Musik - 101101

(DVD Video)

$20.25

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria


Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Ulisse), Graciela Araya (Penelope), Toby Spence (Telemaco), Jaco Huijpen (Antinoo), Christopher Gillett (Pisandro), Diana Montague (Minerva), Brian Asawa (Anfinomo)

Baroque Ensemble Orchestra, Glen Wilson, stage direction by Pierre Audi

PICTURE FORMAT: 16:9
LENGTH: 176 Mins
SOUND: DTS SURROUND / LPCM STEREO
SUBTITLES: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT/NL

“a masterpiece of controlled timing and patience” Gramophone Magazine

“A strikingly staged, beautifully sung production” New York Times

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: PAL

Opus Arte - OA0926D

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$40.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria


Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Ulisse), Graciela Araya (Penelope), Toby Spence (Telemaco), Jaco Huijpen (Antinoo), Christopher Gillett (Pisandro), Diana Montague (Minerva), Brian Asawa (Anfinomo)

Baroque Ensemble Orchestra, Glen Wilson, stage direction by Pierre Audi

PICTURE FORMAT: 16:9
LENGTH: 176 Mins
SOUND: DTS SURROUND / LPCM STEREO
SUBTITLES: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT/NL

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Opus Arte - OA0927D

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$40.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria


Anizio Zorzi Giustiniani (Ulisse), Josè Maria Lo Monaco (Penelope), Roberta Mameli (Minerva), Makoto Sakurada (Telemaco, Eurimaco), Salvo Vitale (Nettuno), Giorgia Milanesi (Giunone) with Francesca Cassinari, Vincenzo Di Donato, Marco Bussi, Alessio Tossi, Roberto Balconi, Paolo Antognetti, Francesca Lombardi, Luca Dordolo, Marta Fumagall

La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina

Having previously directed much-admired recordings of both 'Orfeo' and 'Poppea' (not forgetting the madrigal books), Claudio Cavina now turns his attention to the enduring Homeric-inspired tale of constancy and virtue first performed in Venice over 350 years ago, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. Conscious of the restrictions inherent in the single surviving score, now kept in Vienna, and that it is likely that Monteverdi was not the only composer involved for the original production, Cavina brings his deep understanding to bear on Monteverdi’s inspiration. In this latest artistic endeavour Claudio Cavina is joined by the instrumentalists of La Venexiana and a superb group of singers: Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani as Ulisse; Josè Maria La Monaco as Penelope; Makoto Sakurada and Roberta Mameli have starring roles and Cavina, himself, takes a singing role.

“Lovelier voices than those of Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani and Jose Maria Lo Monaco have sung Ulysses and Penelope on disc, but few have been more moving in their final reconciliation. Roberta Mameli is an incisive Minerva, Salvo Vitale a cavernous Neptune, while Francesca Lombardi’s Melanto and Makoto Sakurada’s Eurimaco — doubling as Telemachus — make aural sex of their ecstatic love scene. An enthralling set.” Sunday Times, 6th May 2012

“The tone of the performance, dramatically expressive and crisply conversational, is set by Calvina himself; as well as conducting, his is the first voice to be heard, singing the role of Human Frailty in the prologue, and the sense of an ensemble performance is consistently conveyed...both José Maria Lo Monaco as Penelope and Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani as Ulysses are wonderfully, humanely characterised” The Guardian, 31st May 2012 ****

“There may be a touch too much vibrato for some, but it's not a sign of over-indulgence. Overall, this is a measured, well-paced performance in which the drama is propulsive rather than emotionally lingering or excessively probing...Cavina manages to integrate all characters great and small - the opera has never sounded more like a simmering pot of Venetian Carnival vaudeville - which is surely what it is.” International Record Review, June 2012

“Rhythms are well-sprung and tempi flexible. A well-schooled, youthful cast is led by Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani’s Ulysses and Josè Maria Lo Monaco’s Penelope, and the advantage of Italians singing in their mother tongue is self-evident. But it is not the most expressive of performances” Financial Times, 7th July 2012 ***

“this account by La Veneziana is one of the more lively versions on CD...Makoto Sakurada (who plays Telemaco and Eurimaco) has the finest voice; strong, responsive and agile...It is therefore a real disappointment that Ulisse (Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani) himself is so unfocused and weak...this performance never loses sight of Monteverdi's dramatic pace, and the intrumental playing throughout is more than commendable.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2012 ***

“Thanks to a hand-picked cast almost entirely made up of native speakers, Badoraro’s words are delivered with as much clarity as Monteverdi’s music.” Sunday Times, 9th December 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2012

Glossa - GCD920920

(CD - 3 discs)

$38.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

CD Book


Christoph Prégardien (Ulisse), Bernarda Fink (Penelope), Christina Högman (Telemaco), Lorraine Hunt (Minerva), Dominique Visse (Pisandro), Mark Tucker (Anfinomo), David Thomas (Antinoo), Olivier Lallouette (Giove), Martina Borst (Amore), Michael Schopper (Nettuno)

Concerto Vocale, René Jacobs

"The result is a five-act opera which convinces far more readily than is raises doubts. Jacobs' cast is a strong one… there is no doubt that he has achieved a vital and stylistically fluent account." BBC Music Magazine

“It's Jacobs's comparative restraint that's powerfully dramatic, and in terms of the strength, depth and range of the casting, he has few equals...Prégardien is an impressive Ulysses to Bernarda Fink's powerful Penelope” BBC Music Magazine, November 2010

Harmonia Mundi Monteverdi Opera Edition - HML5901427/29

(CD - 3 discs)

$27.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria


Leroy Villanueva (Ulisse), Gloria Banditelli (Penelope), Mark Tucker (Telemaco), Guillemette Laurens (Minerva/La Fortuna), Ivan Kiurkciev (Giove/Anfinomo), Daniela Del Monaco (Pisandro/Umana Fragilità), Giovanni Battista Palmieri (Eumete), Caterina Calvi (Ericlea), T. Martin (Eurimaco), N. Nackley (Amore), J. Carkci (Melanto), Gian Paolo Fagotto (Iro)

Sonotori de la Gioiosa Marca, Alan Curtis

Recorded live in 1991

Nuova Era - 231774

(CD - 3 discs)

$25.75

(also available to download from $30.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria


Ann Murray, James King, Josef Protschka, Vinson Cole, Manfred Schenk, Thomas Allen

Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Ensemble Spinario, Tölzer Knabenchor, Jeffrey Tate

Orfeo - Orfeo d'Or - Salzburger Festspieldokumente - C528003D

(CD - 3 discs)

$38.75

Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.

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