Scholarly '70s Baroque revival - but vocally disappointing
Marion Capriotti | New York, NY USA | 01/19/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Now that Baroque opera is no longer a novelty, this recording is more of a good study source and historical document than a performance. In 1971 Harnoncourt was one of the few international artists to champion Monteverdi et al; today, although the musical values (original instruments, tempi, continuo realization, etc.) are impeccable, this recording disappoints because the singing is so uneven (the Ulisse, Sven-Olof Eliasson, is a real operatic baritone with a lush, ringing sound; the Penelope, Norma Lerer, sings well but with the limited sound of a church alto; meanwhile, some other major roles are sung very badly indeed). Today, any music school putting on a production of "Ulisse" would use Harnoncourt's recording as a scholarly starting point, but would cast the opera with much better voices."
Superb very early classical music
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 04/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're breaking into Classical Music and have been turned off by the very early works, I would encourage you to have a listen to these songs which come from one of the very earliest operas ever written.
Claudio Montiverdi lived from 1567 to 1643. This opera was written in Venice not long before his death and is all about "The Homecoming of Odysseus".
The instruments used in conveying this rare composition are those which were in popular use at the time, so the sound is refreshingly unique, not something that you're likely to hear elsewhere.
The work is quite lengthy, adhering strictly to the original poem which serves as the libretto. The three-CD set comes with a very nice 162-page liner booklet which outlines the general story, the instrumentation, and lists the entire libretto.
This CD represents a masterpiece of very early operetic work."