Handel’s riveting tale of obsession, desire, and royal intrigue
The Curtis Opera Theatre’s 2022–23 season concludes with George Frideric Handel’s riveting tale of obsession, desire, and royal intrigue. Based upon Ludovico Ariosto’s epic sixteenth-century poem Orlando furioso, this glorious Baroque masterpiece follows the story of Princess Ginevra, daughter of the King of Scotland, and her fiancé, the noble knight Ariodante. Directed by Omer Ben Seadia, Ariodante features members of Philadelphia’s self-led baroque orchestra, Tempesta di Mare, under the baton of David Stern.
Rejecting the advances of the loathsome Polinesso, Duke of Albany, the princess confides to her handmaid Dalinda that she is madly in love with Ariodante and now has been given her father’s blessings to be with him. But their blissful wedding plans are thwarted in a cruel twist of fate. Dalinda, infatuated with the duke, is persuaded to impersonate the princess to win his dark affections. Ariodante is convinced of the lie and becomes distraught and suicidal at this unfortunate turn of events. Tormented by the perceived betrayal he is despondent beyond reproach.
False accusations of infidelity are spun, and the King disowns Ginevra as he hears that Ariodante has tragically drowned in despair due to his daughter’s supposed betrayal. Polinesso, in pursuit of the throne, had ordered the court handmaids to murder her, the only living witness to his sinister scheme. Saved by Ariodante, she confesses her misguided error, and the two unite to clear the princess’s name, as true love is vindicated in this compelling 18th-century opera seria.
Run time: Approximately three hours, including a 20-minute intermission
George Frideric Handel, Music
Unknown, After Antonio Salvi’s Ginevra principessa di Scozia, Libretto
Sung in Italian with English supertitles.