Notes & Reviews:
Back another two centuries, to 1640 and a late masterpiece by the first great figure in opera history: Claudio Monteverdi and his Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria - "The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland". Raymond Leppard conducted a production at Glyndebourne in the early 1970s, based on his own edition of the textually problematic work - there are gaps in the only surviving score. Revived in 1979, the production - which has gone down in the annals of opera legend - was recorded by CBS. Gramophone's reviewer declared the performance "gloriously vivid in humanity and splendour ... The humanity lies in the expressive music for Penelope and Ulysses, sung with noble restraint and sincerity by Frederica von Stade and Richard Stilwell. Von Stade has probably never had a role that draws so fully upon her special character as an artist ... The beauties of voice and character are exactly matched - as with some other great operatic performances of the past, the identity is complete." This is the first CD release of this magnificent recording.
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