Alcina – Georg Friedrich Händel
Like Handel’s Orlando (1732) and Ariodante (1734), Alcina derives from the narrative material in Ariosto’s Orlando furioso. The story of the sorceress Alcina, an initially hedonistic, manipulative woman who later finds herself a victim of love, fits into the genre of the ‘magical opera’ with numerous magical elements, but Handel achieved considerable emotional authenticity in his characterisations. This makes Alcina one of the most deeply felt and multifaceted operas. ‘You may despise what you like ; but you cannot contradict Handel,’ said the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. As in Tamerlano, Pierre Audi based this production on the stage at the baroque theatre at Drottningholm, for which he originally developed the directing concept. His set is thus based on the principles of perspective, with wings in the form of painted panels. The result is marvellous modern musical theatre in a historizing frame.