<< -- 2 -- Robert Anderson WONDERFULLY VARIED
The Penelope of Graciella Araya has no tapestry to weave by day and nightly undo; indeed her monumental steadfastness needs no props and is proof against flirtatious suggestions from her entourage and increasing pressure from the suitors. At the outset she gives moving expression to her desolation
[listen -- 'Di misera regina' (Act 1) -- DVD1 chapter 4, 0:01-1:08].
Ulysses appears to have been abandoned by the Phaeacians on yet another unknown shore, a frustration sensitively portrayed by Anthony Rolfe Johnson
[listen -- 'Dormo ancora, o son desto?' (Act 1) -- DVD1 chapter 6, 0:00-1:31].
It is eventually Minerva, sole survivor among the deities, who breaks to him the news he is already on his native Ithaca.
Diana Montague as Minerva and Anthony Rolfe Johnson as Ulisse in Act 1. DVD screenshot © 1998 NPS, 2005 Opus Arte
The Minerva of Diana Montague could not be more helpful. Long ago she had instructed Ulysses's son Telemachus what he should say when tongue-tied before eminent Greeks in search of his father. Now she will speed to Sparta and fetch him back to be reunited with Ulysses. Toby Spence's Telemachus thoroughly appreciates her assistance in what has been a surprisingly easy passage home, and they can cheerfully duet their mutual pleasure
[watch -- 'Lieto cammino, dolce viaggio!' (Act 1) -- DVD1 chapter 13, 0:00-1:36].
Opera is always straining our credulity, and now father and son are in each other's presence a long time before any sign of recognition.
Copyright © 26 October 2005
Robert Anderson, London UK