The Return Of Ulysses

Wednesday, March 11, 2009
$45 General | $20 Students

Featuring the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa

By Claudio Monteverdi
Production directed by William Kentridge
Revival of production directed by Luc De Wit
Musical direction by Stephen Stubbs
Featuring the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa

A superb tale is always worth the retelling. A story from the bedrock of our culture, Homer’s Odyssey, was brought to vivid life again by Claudio Monteverdi in Venice in 1640, focusing the action on Ulysses’ return to Ithaca after his “Odyssey” of more than 20 years. Aided by the goddess Minerva and disguised as an old beggar, he reveals his true identity and power as he routs the unwelcome suitors who have plundered his home and wooed his long-suffering wife, Penelope.

Monteverdi’s masterful wedding of words with music of unique expressive exactness gave birth to one of the seminal masterpieces of opera. Now, South African artist William Kentridge recreates the story for our time: placing the dying Ulysses in a hospital ward in modern Johannesburg, and using his inimitable video graphics and life-sized puppets to add a fascinating visual world to Homer’s epic and Monteverdi’s music, he brings us into direct contact with the power of myth.

Performed in Italian with English subtitles.