by Paula Ciron
Opera Atelier’s production of Monteverdi’s 1640 masterpiece The Return of Ulysses is elegant, economical and emotional. With each successive staging, this opera-ballet company under director Marshall Pynkoski produces stage presentations that look more naturalistic within a baroque aesthetic. Jeannette Zingg’s choreography is also increasing in acumen. Each ballet is absolutely configured to the scene, and not one piece of choreography looks the same. Gerard Gauci’s seascape set is lovely, as are Dora Rust D’Eye’s costumes recycled from other productions.
With the early music Toronto Consort under David Fallis in the pit, the musical treatment is period correct. In terms of singing, Monteverdi was on the cusp of the development of recitatives, arias and ensembles. Most of his vocal work is given over to arioso, or a vague melodic sing-speech, and the very good cast comes to grips with the emotional declamations and vocal acrobatics of arioso very well.
The Return of Ulysses continues until Nov. 3.
From the Elgin Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for THE NEW CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.