CREATED at Covent Garden, London, on 16 April 1735
SHOW IN ITALIAN WITH FRENCH OVERTITLES
ENSEMBLE & ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
MUSIC Georg Friedrich Handel
LIBRETTO Riccardo Broschi
MUSICAL DIRECTOR Leonardo García Alarcón
STAGING Serena Sinigaglia
STAGE SETS Edouardo Sanchi
COSTUMES Katarina Vukcevic
LIGHTING Alessandro Verazzi
WITH SUPPORT Banque Populaire Bourgogne Franche-Comté
London, 1735: after a terrible year during which Handel found his familiar London lyric territory occupied by a rival troupe backed by the son of the King — and where reigned two virtuosi of the new Italian school, Porpora and the castrato Farinelli —Alcina marked the Saxon composer’s grand return to the operatic firmament, allowing him brilliant revenge against his competitors … brilliant from an artistic point of view — the opera is one of the composer’s most successful — as well as commercial, since the work would attain a remarkable 23 performances.
Based on Arioste’s Rolando Furioso, Alcinatells the story of Bradamante, a female Christian knight who, disguised as her brother Ricciardo, rescues her betrothed, Ruggiero, from the grip of the wicked sorceress Alcina. In this vicious cycle of desire — Oronte loves Morgane, who loves Ricciardo, who in reality is Bradamante and who truly loves Ruggiero, who succumbs to Alcina’s spells of false love — amorous twists and progressive discovery and initiation into these real and profound sentiments are at the heart of an opera devoted for the most part to wonder and fantasy. And it succeeds brilliantly in the challenge, through musical characters best served by the composer, allowing us to share the imperious passion, fury, despair and dejection in defeat of the lovelorn sorceress, whose spells weave a magic that remains with us long after the performance.