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The Return of Ulysses

10–21 January 2018

The Royal Opera returns to the Roundhouse with Monteverdi’s great late work, in a new production directed by John Fulljames starring Christine Rice and Roderick Williams, sung in English.

When to see it

The Story

Ulysses has finally made his way back to Ithaca after the Trojan War. He returns to his palace disguised as a beggar, and sees the many suitors who have been competing for his faithful wife Penelope’s hand. Under Minerva’s influence, Penelope promises to accept the suitor who can string Ulysses’ bow.

Read more… (Contains spoilers)


The Return of Ulysses (Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria) is one of only three surviving operas by the Renaissance composer Claudio Monteverdi. As with The Coronation of Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea) it dates from the later period of Monteverdi’s career, and was first performed in Venice in 1640. The opera is a masterpiece: Monteverdi invests majestic music with great pathos and dramatic truth, driving with astonishing directness to the heart of each of his complex characters.

John Fulljames, The Royal Opera’s Associate Director of Opera, directs a new production of The Return of Ulysses in English for The Royal Opera at the Roundhouse. The production follows on from the tremendous success in 2015 of Monteverdi’s Orfeo – The Royal Opera’s first production of a Monteverdi opera – which was widely acclaimed for its musical excellence and innovative use of the distinctive, immersive space of the Roundhouse.

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