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Georg Friedrich Händel 1685—1759

Opera in 3 acts
Librettist unknown, based on Antonio Fanzaglia & Ludovico Ariosto
World premiere April 16 1735, Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, London

Sung in Italian with German & English surtitles

Introductory talks (in German) begin in the Holzfoyer 30 mins before curtain up, and will appear here after opening night

There's a chamber music concert at 11am on June 29 inspired by Alcina.

They meet on an island and become aware of the power of magic and the magic of power.

Handel gave the world a magic opera, and one of his best, in 1735 - about love, manipulation and real, or feigned, feelings on Alcina’s island. What makes his characters in this touching story so special? Their (erroneous) paths, obsessions, vows of love, highly emotional confusion or their vulnerability?

The heroine, an unhappy sorceress from Ludovico Ariosto’s Renaissance epic verse Orlando furioso, inspired many 17th & 18th composers. It’s said she possessed magic powers and turned people into animals, springs and rocks. Magic aside, she’s a charismatic woman who acquired political clout and aroused countless lovers’ passion because she wanted to. But her magic evaporates when she falls in love with Ruggiero. He stumbles into Alcina’s realm and is seduced by her. He was in danger of meeting the same fate as his predecessors, and never leaving the island again, if it hadn't been for his intended wife Bradamante who (disguised as Riccardo) came to rescue him and destroy Alcina’s power. The dizzy-making carousel of love keeps turning: Alcina’s sister Morgana falls in love with »Riccardo«, making Oronte, her beloved, jealous. Chaos reaches its peak when Ruggiero thinks Bradamante (disguised as Riccardo) intends to abduct Alcina.

At the end of this wonderful work, which shows Handel at the height of his psychological artistry, Alcina’s alone, in love and hurt. Her youth, power and magic have gone. She watches as Ruggiero’s rejection of her destroys the island and her realm crumbles. The others go their own way. Are they »saved«?