Rolando Villazón To Debut Ulisse In Monteverdi’s ‘Il Ritorno D’Ulisse’

By Francisco Salazar

Rolando Villazón has redefined his tenor career various times moving from heavier lyrical work to Mozart and this week he continues to explore early music in Monteverdi’s “Il Ritorno d’Ulisse” at the Theatre de Champs Elysse.

Villazón will make his role debut as Ulisse in a new production by Mariame Clément. The Mexican tenor has recently been exploring the work of Mozart and has been releasing a Mozart series for Deutsche Grammophon. He was also involved in the world premiere of “South Pole.” He is expected to make his role debut as Lucranio in Handel’s “Ariodante” and he will return to his signature role as Nemorino in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore” later this season.

The tenor will be joined by superstar mezzo Magdalena Kožená who plays Pénélope. Kožená is one of the supreme specialists in Baroque music and has made many recordings of Handel and Monteverdi works. This season she will join her husband Sir Simon Rattle in Berlioz’s “La Damnation de Faust” alongside Charles Castronovo.

The rest of the cast is rounded out by Katherine Watson, Kresimir Spicer, Anne-Catherine Gillet, Isabelle Druet, Maarten Engeltjes, Callum Thorpe and Lothar Odinius. Early music specialist Emmanuelle Haïm will conduct the work.

“Il Ritorno d’Ulisse” marks the second opera from Monteverdi after “Orfeo,” which is considered the first opera in the history of music. The work is based on the Homer’s Odyssey and is recognized as one of the classic works of the baroque repertoire.

Performances will will run from Feb. 28 to March 13.