"A revelation of a production." Thus wrote Dagbladet after the 2012 premiere of Monteverdi's The Return of Ulysses, directed by Ole Anders Tandberg. NRK's critic said she had never laughed so much at the Opera House before. Now in the winter of 2016 it returns, this time in the Main House.
Penelope awaits her husband, Ulysses, in a party venue that reeks of old nicotine, seedy officialdom and greasy food. She has been here for twenty years, waiting in her bridal gown among the tipsy guests, for the husband who was sent to war in the middle of their wedding feast.
When Ulysses finally returns home, he will test his wife's constancy. Penelope, who has not been close to another human being for many years, has nevertheless realised that life must go on, and that she should choose a new husband. The fact that this happens at the time of Ulysses’ homecoming cannot be called anything other than extremely bad timing – or the unfavourable will of the gods. Opera for the people
Claudio Monteverdi is famed as the composer behind the earliest opera still to be performed, 1607's Orfeo. Between Orfeo and the premiere performance of Ulysses in 1640, the opera genre had undergone a major transformation. The world's first public opera house, the Teatro San Cassiano in Venice, opened its doors in 1637. No longer was it necessary to be invited by a prince or royal court to experience the opera: it had become the people's art form. We can hear this in The Return of Ulysses, with its direct, captivating music, human characters and the humour that goes hand in hand with vulnerability.