“[There’s] an underlying anger [to Penelope]…her frustration, and at the bottom of everything is fear – what these people could do to her. They’ve had enough of her saying, ‘Just wait a little longer, he’s going to come back.’” – Frederica von Stade’s explorations of her character Penelope in The Return of Ulysses (1997)
LA Opera’s production of Claudio Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses brought two brilliant singers to the stage: Frederica von Stade and Thomas Allen in the roles of Penelope and Ulysses. It also continued LA Opera’s tradition of staging myth-inspired baroque opera (the company’s debut season featured Alcina and a later season included Xerxes). In the opera, Ulysses returns unbeknownst back to his homeland of Ithaca after twenty years of war. His house is overrun by suitors vying for the hand of his faithful wife, Penelope. Ulysses must overcome Penelope’s suitors to win back the hand of the woman he loves.
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