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Press Release

A True Odyssey:
Boston Baroque Releases New Performing Version of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria led by Martin Pearlman and starring Fernando Guimarães and Jennifer Rivera


International Release date: April 20, 2015
US Release date: May 12, 2015

Monteverdi’s most recently authenticated opera benefits from the attention to detail that has ensured Martin Pearlman’s reputation as a leading champion of period performance.

NEW YORK, NY – April 30, 2015 – The three-time GRAMMY-nominated Boston Baroque is the first permanent Baroque orchestra ever established in North America and is widely regarded as “one of the world’s premier period-instrument bands”(Fanfare). The ensemble produces lively, emotionally charged, groundbreaking performances of Baroque and Classical works—performed on instruments and using performance techniques that reflect the eras in which the music was composed.  May 12th, 2015 marks the North American release of the ensemble’s recording of Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, in a new performance version created by Boston Baroque’s founder and Music Director Martin Pearlman.  The album, released internationally on Linn Records April 20th, has already received significant critical praise and promises to be the new benchmark recording of this work. “This performance is technically solid with some fine playing from the orchestra,” wrote The Guardian in an advance review of this release, also chosen as Album of the Week by the Sunday Times.
Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria is based on the story told in books 13–23 of Homer’s Odyssey, in which Ulysses returns home from the Trojan War after an absence of 20 years and slays his wife’s suitors, who have taken over his palace. The 73-year-old Monteverdi’s setting of Giacomo Badoaro’s libretto was premiered in 1640 during the carnival season in Venice, to such acclaim that it was revived the following season, an unusual distinction for an opera of the time.  Not long after the premiere, Ulisse dropped from view until late in the nineteenth century, when a manuscript was rediscovered in Vienna, which appears to be a copy made for a later revival in that city. Initially there were doubts as to whether the newly discovered work was a genuine lost opera of Monteverdi. But by the mid-twentieth century, further documents were found which removed any doubts about the work’s authenticity. 
 “For Boston Baroque’s production,” says Music Director Martin Pearlman, “I have checked every note and word of the surviving manuscript, a process that led to countless small adjustments – plus a few major ones – to what we find in modern editions. In many places, the manuscript is incomplete or unclear and a variety of interpretative decisions must be made.” 
The Boston Baroque recording of this riveting human drama comes to life through an enviable cast, led by Portuguese tenor and baroque specialist Fernando Guimarães in the title role, alongside the internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Jennifer Rivera as his loving wife Penelope.
Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria is unquestionably one of the three pillars that place Monteverdi among the greatest of opera composers, and Boston Baroque’s new performing version immortalized in this recording is a highly considered approach to all aspects of the score and performance, ensuring this version is true to Monteverdi's original vision.
To download Martin Pearlman's discussion about the new performance version of Ulisse, and to see complete cast and recording information, please visit:
Founded in 1973 as “Banchetto Musicale” by Music Director Martin Pearlman, Boston Baroque’s orchestra is composed of some of the finest period-instrument players in the United States, and are frequently joined by the ensemble’s professional chorus and by world-class, top instrumental and vocal soloists from around the globe. The ensemble presents an exciting annual subscription series consisting of five programs performed at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston, Massachusetts and also at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts for their annual New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day festivities.
Boston Baroque’s many career milestones include the American premiere of Rameau’s Zoroastre in honor of his 300th birthday in 1983, a Mozart opera series including The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte as well as the American period-instrument premieres of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 1986 and The Magic Flute in 1989. The orchestra also presented a revelatory exploration of the complete Beethoven symphonies on period instruments. In 1998 – 1999, the ensemble gave the modern premiere of The Philosopher’s Stone, a singspiel newly discovered to include music by Mozart which shed fresh light on his canon.
In recent years, Boston Baroque presented Boston’s first complete cycle of the surviving operas of Monteverdi with new performing editions by Martin Pearlman of L’incoronazione di Poppea and Il ritorno d’Ulisse and an internationally acclaimed series of Handel operas which include Agrippina, Alcina, Xerxes, Giulio Cesare, Semele, and Amadigi di Gaula. In May 2012, their performances of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, which incorporated dancers and original choreography, met with outstanding critical acclaim.
Vibrant, richly detailed performances, sophisticated interpretative skills and an evocative command of various composers and styles are a few of the hallmarks of esteemed American conductor Martin Pearlman. An international conductor known for his crisp communicative skills, Pearlman is also a highly regarded scholar, composer and an acclaimed three-time Grammy nominated recording artist. Founder and music director of the Boston Baroque, Mr. Pearlman enjoys an active guest conducting career on both the opera and orchestral stages.
Among the orchestras and opera companies that Mr. Pearlman has appeared with are Minnesota Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Alabama Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Springfield Symphony (Massachusetts), New World Symphony, National Arts Center Orchestra of Ottawa, The Washington Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Columbus, and Boston Lyric Opera, to name a few.
Martin Pearlman founded the first permanent Baroque orchestra in North America with Boston Baroque in 1973-74. Since then, he has led the Boston, Massachusetts-based ensemble in numerous American and world period-instrument premieres of operas, choral, and instrumental works, including Mozart operas and major works of Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Monteverdi and Rameau. In addition to directing Boston Baroque in its annual subscription series, he has taken the ensemble on tour nationally and in Europe, and has made over 22 recordings for Telarc International, three of which have been Grammy nominated, cementing the organization’s reputation as America’s premiere period-instrument orchestra. Mr. Pearlman and the Boston Baroque, as of 2012, became the first American orchestra to record with the UK label Linn Records.
Pearlman is the only conductor from the period-instrument field to have performed live on the internationally televised Grammy Awards show.
In addition to prepared new performing versions of Monteverdi's operas Il ritorno d'Ulisse and L'incoronazione di Poppea, Mr. Pearlman has also edited a new critical edition of Armand-Louis Couperin's complete keyboard works, and created a new orchestration and edition of Cimarosa's Il maestro di cappella.
Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria
Opera in a prologue and three acts
Music by Claudio Monteverdi
Libretto by Giacomo Badoaro (1602–1654)
A new performing version by Martin Pearlman
Complete information on this recording can be found at:
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