The Curtis Opera Theatre’s 2022–23 season concludes with George Frideric Handel’s riveting tale of obsession, desire, and royal intrigue set in the medieval Scottish Highlands. 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 loathsome Duke Polinesso, Ginevra confides to her handmaid Dalinda that she is in love with Ariodante and wishes to marry him. But in a cruel twist of fate, their blissful wedding plans are thwarted as Dalinda, infatuated with the duke, is persuaded to impersonate the princess in hopes of winning his dark affections. Ariodante, convinced of the lie, distraught, and suicidal at the unfortunate turn of events, disappears into the woods near the sea, where he laments his fate.
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, orders his henchmen to murder Dalinda, the only living witness of his sinister scheme. Saved by Ariodante, she confesses her misguided error, and the two unite to clear the name of the princess, as true love is vindicated in this compelling 18th-century opera seria.
George Frideric Handel, Music
Unknown, After Antonio Salvi’s Ginevra principessa di Scozia, Libretto
Sung in Italian with English supertitles.