Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

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November 2024 Next



In Ithaca, Penelope has been waiting twenty years for the return of her husband Ulisse, who disappeared after the Trojan War. Ericlea, Ulisse's old nurse, firmly believes in his return.

The maid Melanto has fallen in love with Eurimaco, one of Penelope's suitors. Eurimaco demands that she open Penelope's "diamond heart" to love again. Against Neptune's prohibition, the Phaeacians have brought his mortal enemy Ulisse to Ithaca. Neptune denounces human freedom, which rejects the belief in gods and fate.

Jupiter allows Neptune to take revenge on the Phaeacians. Ulisse wakes up in Ithaca without recognizing his homeland. He curses sleep, himself and the supposedly disloyal Phaeacians. The goddess Minerva appears and wants to reinstate Ulisse as ruler of Ithaca in order to complete her work of revenge after the fall of Troy. She lets him in on her plan, while Melanto paints Penelope the joys of love. Eumete throws Iro, who is unable to pay the bill, out of his tavern. The aged Ulisse returns to the tavern, but is not recognized by Eumete.

Minerva abducts Ulisses and Penelope's son Telemaco from Sparta to Ithaca and confronts him with his father, whom he was never able to meet. The three suitors Antinoo, Eurimaco and Pisandro harass Penelope, while Eumete reports the arrival of Telemaco and the possible imminent return of Ulisses. The suitors decide to press ahead with Penelope's new marriage with generous gifts, while Minerva draws up a battle plan to settle Ulisse's score with the suitors.


ACT 2 & 3

Telemaco torments his mother with a declaration of love for the beautiful Helen, who is partly to blame for the Trojan War.

In Eumete's tavern there is a trial of strength between the unrecognized Ulisse and Iro. The suitors present their gifts to Penelope, but she returns the favor by inviting them to a bow test: whoever is able to draw Ulisse's bow will receive his kingdom and his wife.

The three suitors fail, while Ulisse, with the help of the gods, draws the bow and murders the three suitors. Iro kills himself. Penelope refuses to recognize her husband in the murderer. Minerva, Juno and Jupiter persuade Neptune to renounce his revenge on Ulisse, demonstrating to the mortals that angry gods can be appeased by prayer. Penelope senses in the stranger a spark of the Ulisse who left her twenty years ago to go to war.




PART 2 - 65 MIN

Program and cast

Ulisse: Georg Nigl
Penelope: Stephanie Maitland
Telemaco: Cyrille Dubois
Minerva: Isabel Signoret
Melanto / L'umana fragilità 3: Daria Sushkova
Nettuno / Antinoo / Il Tempo: Antonio Di Matteo
Iro / L'umana fragilità 2: Jörg Schneider
Ericlea / L'umana fragilità 1: Stephanie Houtzeel
Giove: Matthäus Schmidlechner


Musical Direction: Stefan Gottfried
Direction: Jossi Wieler, Sergio Morabito
Stage & Costumes: Anna Viebrock
Co-Set Designer: Torsten Köpf
Lighting: Reinhard Traub
Video: Tobias Dusche

Vienna State Opera

Public Transport

Subway lines: U1, U2, U4
Trams: 1, 2, D, J, 62, 65
Buses: 59A
Local Railway: Badner Bahn
Stops: Karlsplatz / Opera

Taxi stands are available nearby.


Parking is only € 6, - for eight hours!

The Wiener Staatsoper and the ÖPARK Kärntner Ring Garage on Mahlerstraße 8, under the “Ringstraßengalerien”, offer the patrons of the Vienna State Opera a new, reduced parking fee. You can park in the Kärntner Ring Garage for up to 8 hours and pay only a flat fee of € 6, -. Just validate your ticket at one of the discount machines inside the Wiener Staatsoper. The normal rate will be charged for parking time greater than 8 hours. The validation machines can be found at the following coat checks: Operngasse, Herbert von Karajan-Platz, and the right and left and balcony galleries.

Important: In order to get the discount, please draw a ticket and do not use your credit card when entering the garage!

After devaluing your ticket in the Wiener Staatsoper you can pay comfortably by credit card or cash at the vending machines.

The machines accept coins and bills up to 50.- Euro. Parking time longer than 8 hours will be charged at the normal rate.


The structure of the opera house was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, while the inside was designed by interior decorator Eduard van der Nüll. It was also impacted by other major artists such as Moritz von Schwind, who painted the frescoes in the foyer, and the famous "Zauberflöten" (“Magic Flute”) series of frescoes on the veranda. Neither of the architects survived to see the opening of ‘their’ opera house: the sensitive van der Nüll committed suicide, and his friend Sicardsburg died of a stroke soon afterwards.


On May 25, 1869, the opera house solemnly opened with Mozart's Don Giovanni in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
The popularity of the building grew under the artistic influence of the first directors: Franz von Dingelstedt, Johann Herbeck, Franz Jauner, and Wilhelm Jahn. The Vienna opera experienced its first high point under the direction of Gustav Mahler. He completely transformed the outdated performance system, increased the precision and timing of the performances, and also utilized the experience of other noteworthy artists, such as Alfred Roller, for the formation of new stage aesthetics.


The years 1938 to 1945 were a dark chapter in the history of the opera house. Under the Nazis, many members of the house were driven out, pursued, and killed, and many works were not allowed to be played.


On March 12, 1945, the opera house was devastated during a bombing, but on May 1, 1945, the “State Opera in the Volksoper” opened with a performance of Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. On October 6, 1945, the hastily restored “Theaters an der Wien” reopened with Beethoven's FIDELIO. For the next ten years the Vienna State Opera operated in two venues while the true headquarters was being rebuilt at a great expense.


The Secretary of State for Public Works, Julius Raab, announced on May 24, 1945, that reconstruction of the Vienna State Opera would begin immediately. Only the main facade, the grand staircase, and the Schwind Foyer had been spared from the bombs. On November 5, 1955, the Vienna State Opera reopened with a new auditorium and modernized technology. Under the direction of Karl Böhm, Beethoven’s FIDELIO was brilliantly performed, and the opening ceremonies were broadcast by Austrian television. The whole world understood that life was beginning again for this country that had just regained its independence.


Today, the Vienna State Opera is considered one of the most important opera houses in the world; in particular, it is the house with the largest repertoire. It has been under the direction of Dominique Meyer since September 1, 2010.

© Bwag/Commons
© Wiener Staatsoper
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