Brisbane’s Circa ensemble to bring festival hit Il Ritorno to Melbourne

Co-comissioned by the Brisbane Festival in 2015, Il Ritorno wowed audiences in the River City last September with its fusion of stripped back acrobatics and baroque opera. This coming August, the creators, Brisbane based circus troupe Circa, are bringing the show to Melbourne, for a strictly limited run.

Headed by artistic director Yaron Lifschitz and composer and arranger Quincy Grant, the Circa ensemble will be joined on stage by singers and musicians, setting the scene for a compelling re-imagining of the ancient Greek tale of Ulysses, the returning hero.

Based on Claudio Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria, the baroque opera is given a fresh twist, with Lifschitz adding a second lens for the audience to view the classic tale through – the experiences of Italian-Jewish scientist Primo Levi during his internment in Auchswitz during World War II.

“…Primo Levi’s account of returning from the innermost circle of hell that was Auschwitz only to end up in the vast expanse of the Russian steppe was tinged with the same crushing nostalgia, post-traumatic memory and cold hope that I heard beating at the heart of Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria.” says Lifschitz.

“When we challenge ourselves, when we make it personal, when we try to communicate difficult, inexpressible things and when we share them, raw, vulnerable and without the safety net of convention ….we have continued to help a little to keep culture alive – culture which may be our only defence.”


Il Ritorno will play at Arts Centre Melbourne for a limited run, from August 17th to 20th. Tickets are available through the Arts Centre Melbourne website.
Further dates have also been scheduled on the Gold Coast and in Lismore.


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Jodie Sloan

Living, writing, and reading in Brisbane/Meanjin. Likes spooky books, strong cocktails, and pro-wrestling.