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Monteverdi - Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria

5 customer reviews

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Monteverdi - Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria + Monteverdi - L'Orfeo + Monteverdi - L'Incoronazione di Poppea
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Editorial Reviews

Werner Hollweg, Trudeliese Schmidt, and Francisco Araiza star in this 1979 Jean-Pierre Ponnelle Zurich Opera production of the Monteverdi opera conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Werner Hollweg, Trudeliese Schmidt, Francisco Araiza, Janet Perry
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, NTSC, Full Screen, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian (DTS 5.1), Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000JJSRNO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,873 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on November 15, 2008
How am I dumbfounded? Let me count the ways!

1. I find myself writing the first review of this incredible DVD!

2. This performance took place in 1977! All my theatrical and musical instincts tell me that the World should not have continued spinning in the same old way, that there should have been an almost universal clamor for more such productions, for Monteverdi festivals from sea to rising sea... yet the opera companies of the USA keep grinding out 19th C sausages!

3. Most of all, I'm dumbfounded by how well this costumer's phantasmagoria works dramatically and musically. This is Monteverdi rendered as GRAND opera, even though the theater shown in the film is intimate in scale. Everything about the production is lavish, busy, and bold -- the very same qualities that make the Harnoncourt/Ponelle staging of L'Orfeo incoherent -- but here the excess becomes expressive.

4. I'm dumbfounded also by the artistry of the singers, most of whom never considered themselves "early music" specialists. To whom does the credit go for convincing them to sing Monteverdi as Monteverdi has to be sung? To Harnoncourt? If so, the man was more of a genius than I realized. In case I'm not being coherent, in my dumbfounded state, let me say it plainly: the singing is superb! If your TV screen is large and clear, you will notice that the sound track isn't really a direct recording of the stage performance, and the lip synch is far from perfect. This is a blessing I don't choose to reject; the sound is as fine as a studio recording session could make it, and after all, it's the music that I value most.

5. I have a minor dumbfoundification over the obvious: Monteverdi should never be cut!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anna Shlimovich on September 29, 2010
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I have seen this performance many times, and a few other Ulisses available on DVD today; and the question arises - why this one is simply unsurpassed?

It seems to me that the major problem an opera director faces today is that the audience for which these operas were written had disappeared. Monteverdi worked for the Gonzaga family in Mantua; that court was renowned throughout Europe for its cultural endowments and artistic sophistication; it was for that family that Andrea Mantegna decorated Camera degli Sposi in Palazzo Ducale with frescos that are a major masterpiece of Italian renaissance; it was in that family circle that the action of Castiglione's Il Cortegiano book is taking place; it was Leonardo whom Isabella d'Este, the great-grandmother of Vincenzo Gonzaga, Claudio Monteverdi's employer, tried to employ in Mantua.

The court of that Ducal family were Monteverdi's audience - it was an environment of the refined knowledge and sophisticated opulence; but also of the power of aristocracy and religion. The sensual desire therefore was expressed discreetly through rich allegory and ornamented understatement. The pictures of voluptuous beautiful women were presented as pictures of Madonnas, Saints, Goddesses, Queens and Heroines of Antiquity; time-wise, it was closer to Giorgione's "Sleeping Venus" than to Edouard Manet's "Olympia". There was no trace yet of petit-bourgeois demand for easy, non-intellectually demanding entertainment; the destruction of Arcadia by French revolution is not yet seen even through the strongest telescope of Galileo.

With Monteverdi's Ulisse, we find ourselves in the cultural world where Tiziano's Venus of Urbino still firmly rules on Venetian Parnassus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bob North on January 17, 2013
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I loved this recording. I am spoiled by blu-ray, so it was less of a sure thing knowing that the image could not be the ultimate. No, you can't miss this. It is full of treasure... including soprano Janet Perry. If you love opera and you have missed Janet Perry... I suggest you get busy. Really, you do not want to go through life without enjoying this.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. John W. Rippon VINE VOICE on July 19, 2014
This recording of the penultimate (as far as is known) opera by the first master of the opera-form- Claudio Monteverdi, is going on 40 but still stands out as the (to me) most satisfactory. The Ponnelle - Harnoncourt team produced the three known (or alleged) operas by the first master of the genre. Yes the Scholar-brigade and others have criticized their approach but I must say after many viewings of the three operas I find them ultimately viewable and breath-takingly beautiful. Yes I've see several "Orfeos which were quite good; and some new versions of "Poppea" particularly the Bicket - Alden are more in keeping with what I think is the soul of drama (it is more of a modern drama-opera then the previous known works). However none of the more recent "Ritorno D'Ulisse" disc are as satisfactory to me as the old recording.
This drama is the most intimate and intense of the three Monteverdi opera. Here the long suffering Penelope (a mezzo with a restricted tessitura) is so intense that we focus on her almost entirely; beautifully done by Trudeliese Schmdt whom I did not know before or since. Every cast member performed well. Memorable was the glutton suitor Irus of Arley Reese.. The production was totally great.
To me much of the greatness lie in the scenic pieces and costumes used in this grand drama. Jean=Pierre Ponnelle was in his day the MASTER of what he did. The current Regie-theatre is totally lifeless Eurotrash as compared to this true apostle. Yes, this is an old but favorite disc that I will treasure as in the past and into the future.
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Monteverdi - Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria
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