11.12.12 7pm, RNCM, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9RD; From £20

Written in 1640 and setting a text after Homer, The Return of Ulysses is typical of Monteverdi’s finest operas, with a moralising prologue, an almost super-human hero, a large cast that includes the gods, the mortals, and a number of comic characters, and a score packed with virtuosic writing, including recitative, arioso and aria that together flag key developments in the drama of the text.

Watched by the gods, Penelope waits on Ithaca for the return of her husband Ulysses from the Trojan Wars. Wooed on all sides by the men of the court, what she doesn’t know is that he’s already home, deposited in the dead of night on a beach by some friendly Phaeacians. Reunited by the gods with his son, Telemachus, the disguised pair makes their way to the Royal Palace. There, Penelope’s loyalty is tested by a trial that features a huge bow and arrow, with husband and wife eventually reunited in complete, loving bliss. Tickets: http://bit.ly/PmtOzV