A radical new staging, they promised us. And, in this respect, the ENO’s latest collaboration with the Young Vic doesn’t disappoint. Updated to a modern world at war, the action takes place in a glass-walled apartment that turns the viewer into voyeur. It would have made a bold statement, had director Benedict Andrew not smotherered it in gimmicks: video projection; self-conscious nudity; fake blood; even a kitchen sink.
‘The Return of Ulysses’ does pivot on eroticism and violence, but Monteverdi’s harmonies are too subtle to compete with such noisy visuals. That they managed to hold their own is credit to the cast, not least Tom Randle’s Ulisse, Pamela Helen Stephen’s Penelope and Ruby Hughes’s Minerva while the orchestra put in a buoyant turn under conductor Jonathan Cohen.