Cookie settings

This tool helps you select and disable various tags / trackers / analytics tools used on this website.





Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

on April 02, 2023
This is the page for the performance on April 02, 2023.
Music Claudio Monteverdi Text Giacomo Badoaro
→ Oper in einem Prolog und drei Akten


Cast 02.04.2023

Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado
Production Jossi Wieler Sergio Morabito
Stage and Costume Design Anna Viebrock
Ko-Bühnenbildner Torsten Köpf
Lighting Design Reinhard Traub
Video Tobias Dusche
Ulisse Georg Nigl
Penelope Kate Lindsey
Telemaco Josh Lovell
Minerva Isabel Signoret
Eurimaco / Anfinomo Hiroshi Amako
Nettuno / Antinoo / Il Tempo Andrea Mastroni
Eumete Robert Bartneck
Iro / L'umana fragilità 2 Jörg Schneider
Ericlea / L'umana fragilità 1 Helene Schneiderman
Melanto / L'umana fragilità 3 Daria Sushkova
Pisandro / L'umana fragilità 4 Katleho Mokhoabane
Giunone Anna Bondarenko
Giove Daniel Jenz
Amore Alma Neuhaus
Fortuna Miriam Kutrowatz


Based on Homer's epic The Odyssey, the opera begins at the moment when Odysseus (Italian Ulisse) returns home from the Trojan War. He is dropped off asleep on his home island of Ithaca and disguises himself as a beggar in order to remain unrecognised. The swineherd Eumete takes him in and Odysseus initially only reveals his identity to his son Telemaco. For 20 years, his wife Penelope has been torn between the hope of Odysseus' return and the courtship of suitors who urge her to marry.



Human fragility is exposed to time, chance and love.

Part 1

In Ithaca, Penelope has been waiting for twenty years for the return of her husband Ulisse, who disappeared after the Trojan War. Ericlea, Ulisse's old nurse, firmly believes in his return.
The maid Melanto has fallen in love with Eurimaco, one of Penelope's suitors. Eurimaco demands that she open Penelope's "diamond heart" to love again.
Against Neptune's prohibition, the Phaeacians have brought his mortal enemy Ulisse to Ithaca. Neptune denounces human freedom, which rejects belief in gods and fate. Jupiter allows Neptune to take revenge on the Phaeacians.
Ulisse awakes in Ithaca without recognising his homeland. He curses sleep, himself and the supposedly faithless Phaeacians.
The goddess Minerva appears. To complete her work of revenge after the fall of Troy, she wants to reinstate Ulisse as ruler of Ithaca. She lets him in on her plan.
Melanto paints Penelope the joys of love.
Eumete throws Iro, who cannot pay the bill, out of his tavern. The aged Ulisse returns to the tavern. He is not recognised by Eumete.
Minerva abducts Ulisse and Penelope's son Telemaco from Sparta to Ithaca and confronts him with the father he has never been able to meet.
The three suitors Antinoo, Eurimaco and Pisandro harass Penelope.
Eumete reports Telemaco's arrival and the possible imminent return of Ulisse. The suitors decide to push for a new marriage for Penelope with generous gifts.
Minerva devises the battle plan for Ulisse's reckoning with the suitors.

Part 2

Telemaco torments his mother with a declaration of love for the beautiful Helen, who is partly to blame for the Trojan War.
In Eumete's tavern there is a trial of strength between the unrecognised Ulisse and Iro.
The suitors present their gifts to Penelope. Penelope returns the favour by inviting them to a bow test: whoever can draw Ulisse's bow shall receive his kingdom and his wife.
The three suitors fail. With the help of the gods, Ulisse draws the bow and murders the three suitors with it. Iro kills himself.
Penelope refuses to recognise her husband in the murderer.
Minerva, Juno and Jupiter persuade Neptune to renounce his revenge on Ulisse. In doing so, they demonstrate to the mortals that enraged gods can be appeased through prayer.
Penelope senses in the stranger a spark of the Ulisse who left her twenty years ago to go to war.


With Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, the Vienna State Opera completes its Monteverdi cycle opened in the past two seasons with L'incoronazione di Poppea and La favola di Orfeo. The relationship of the Ritorno to Vienna is a particularly close one, since the only surviving handwritten score by a copyist's hand was only identified in the 2nd half of the 19th century in the holdings of Leopold I's former bedchamber library; since the 2nd half of the 20th century, Monteverdi's authorship has been recognised beyond doubt. It could not be ascertained whether the copy of the score was expressly commissioned by the Habsburgs or acquired in Italy. Nor is there any indication that this score was used in connection with a performance.

The underlying concept of »recitar cantando«, i.e. »sung recitation«, implied the high literary standards that were set for the libretto poems.