Review: Ulysses’ Homecoming is a triumph for English Touring Opera

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Ulysses’ Homecoming, the second of ETO’s tour of 17th century Venetian operas, was the great success of Monteverdi’s old age.

It tells the well known story of Ullysses’ return to his wife Penelope long after the end of the Trojan War. The gods have a hand in his return, as they had in his many adventures on the way. The faithful Penelope is besieged by suitors and their son, Telemachus, is now a man. Minerva, the goddess who loves Ulysses, disguises him as an old beggar and he returns to win back his wife and his home.

The set is simple and the story runs its course with clarity and excellent singing. In the last act, with the suitors dead and the gods withdrawn, human emotions come to the fore in truly beautiful music.

Benedict Nelson as Ulysses and Carolyn Dobbin as Penelope were great, their final duet was poignant and truly moving. Katie Bray was a feisty Minerva.