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Monteverdi: Il Ritorno Di Ulisse In Patria / Curtis, Banditelli, Et Al

Release Date: 02/10/2009 
Label:  Nuova Era   Catalog #: 231774   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Giovanni Battista PalmieriGuillemette LaurensDaniela Del MonacoTimothy Martin,   ... 
Conductor:  Alan Curtis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MONTEVERDI Il ritorno di Ulisse in patria Alan Curtis, cond; Leroy Villanueva ( Ulisse ); Gloria Banditelli ( Penelope ); others; Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca (period instruments) NUOVA ERA 231774 (3 CDs: 163:59 &)

This is the third appearance of a seminal recording made in Siena in July 1991. Except for the very first and lamentable recording by Rudolf Ewerhart on Vox, Read more it was then the only version that stuck to the spare instrumentation of the unique source (manuscript but not autograph), all others embellishing the music on the assumption that the composer could not have wanted such a thin-sounding performance. The first issue appeared without delay and without any booklet enclosed, so I was unable to review it blind. The second issue (29:2) was squeezed onto two full discs by the pardonable expedient of omitting the first scene, a six-minute ensemble, at the beginning of act IV. Now this set is complete again, with a sensible adjustment made to the first two discs. Instead of a 76-minute first disc and a 42-minute second disc, we now have the prologue and act I at 61 minutes and the next two acts at 57 minutes (the third disc is unchanged from the original issue). It’s a wonder the first issue was not laid out that way. The digipack and a 64-page booklet are elegantly slipcased, so this is the most satisfactory presentation of this recording yet. We are now informed that the recording was made over a period of six days, though the number of performances during that time is not specified.

More recently, however, Sergio Vartolo has recorded the work in a series of all three of Monteverdi’s operas (30:6). Vartolo’s Prelude and first act are 12 minutes longer than Curtis’s, his second and third acts are 15 minutes longer, and his last two acts are 29 minutes longer. The most significant difference is in the fifth act, where Vartolo includes five scenes (22 minutes) that Curtis omits. They are heard between Iro’s opening lament and Ericlea’s recitative. While Curtis’s version remains important, it must stand alongside Vartolo’s complete recording in a remarkable interpretation of the original score. In addition, the expanded versions of René Jacobs and Gabriel Garrido (24:5) are worth comparing with the unadorned approach adopted by these two. There are also no less than five DVDs from René Jacobs, William Christie (28:1), Glen Wilson (29:5), Raymond Leppard (29:6), and Nikolaus Harnoncourt (30:6), representing a variety of interpretations. Curtis’s version is still worth hearing, though Vartolo has now challenged it.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Giovanni Battista Palmieri (Bass), Guillemette Laurens (Mezzo Soprano), Daniela Del Monaco (Alto),
Timothy Martin (Tenor), Gloria Banditelli (Mezzo Soprano), Mark Tucker (Tenor),
Harry Van der Kamp (Bass), Ivan Kiurkciev (Tenor), Leroy Villanueva (Baritone),
Gian Paolo Fagotto (Tenor), Jaklin Çarkci (Mezzo Soprano), Caterina Calvi (Mezzo Soprano),
Nicholas Nackley (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Alan Curtis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1640; Venice, Italy 
Language: Italian 

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