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Ulisse [Ulysses]locked

  • Anthony Sellors

Extract

Opera in a prologue, two acts and an epilogue by Luigi Dallapiccola to his own libretto after Homer ’s Odyssey; Berlin, Deutsche Oper, 29 September 1968.

The prologue consists of three episodes. In the first, the goddess Calypso (soprano) gazes out to sea from the island of Ogygia, lamenting that Ulysses (baritone) has left her, even though she offered to make him immortal. The second episode, depicting Poseidon’s angry persecution of Ulysses, is for orchestra alone. As the sound of the stormy sea dies away, the scene changes to a wooded beach on the island of Phaeacia, where a group of young girls are playing as they wait for their washing to dry. Only the princess Nausicaa (high soprano) sits apart. She is remembering a dream, a vision of a bridegroom who came to her from the sea. The girls resume their game, but break off suddenly when a man appears from the wood, wearing only a few twigs and leaves. They throw a robe round his shoulders, and Nausicaa, without knowing his identity, welcomes him as the bridegroom of her vision. The stranger is overcome with wonder at Nausicaa’s beauty, and kneels at her feet. She tells him to rise and accompany her to the palace of her father, King Alcinoo [Alcinous] (bass-baritone)....

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