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The Return of Ulysses; Salome; The Creation – review

Roundhouse; Royal Opera House; Kings Place, London
Singers and orchestra revolve valiantly in Royal Opera’s uneven but unmissable Monteverdi, a Swedish Salome casts her spell, and Haydn’s Creation works its animal magic

After waiting so long for her husband to get home, what hard luck that Penelope had lost her voice for the first night of the Royal Opera’s The Return of Ulysses at the Roundhouse. Luckily the mezzo-soprano Christine Rice, who walked the role, is such a fine actor, and her replacement, Caitlin Hulcup, singing from the pit, such a responsive and adept singer, that scarcely a stitch was dropped, musically or dramatically. The professionalism needed for this kind of artistic teamwork cannot be overstated – especially with the audience up close, in-the-round, with nowhere to hide.

Following the company’s success there in 2015 with another Monteverdi opera, Orfeo, this production by John Fulljames, sung in English (in Christopher Cowell’s clear translation), had many strengths, not least a terrific cast and 40 singers from the Roundhouse community choir and the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus, as well as vocal students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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