ALCINA, Vienna State Opera , 23 October 2016 - 18:00

Event Details
Category: Operas Event: ALCINA Date/Time: 23 October 2016 - 18:00 Venue: Vienna State Opera Address: Opernring 2, 1010 Wien / Vienna (Map)

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In the ballroom at Devonshire House in London’s Piccadilly, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, is putting on a play with her friends. She assumes the title role of the sorceress Alcina and allocates the roles. Her sister Henrietta Frances is to play Alcina’s sister Morgana, her friend Lady Elizabeth Foster plays Ruggiero, her sister-in-law Lavinia Bingham plays Bradamante, her son William George Spencer Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, plays Oberto, her lover Charles Earl Grey plays Oronte, the British politician Charles James Fox plays Melisso, and Georgiana’s husband William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire, plays Astolfo.


Bradamante is searching for Ruggiero, to whom she is betrothed. She has disguised herself as a soldier and is travelling under the name of her brother, Ricciardo. She is accompanied by her tutor Melisso, who is also disguised as a soldier. On the island ruled by the sorceress Alcina, the two meet Alcina’s sister Morgana, who falls in love at first sight with the supposed Ricciardo. To complicate the situation, Alcina enters – with Ruggiero, who has fallen head over heels in love with Alcina and is loved by her in return. The young Oberto, who was taken in by Alcina after he and his father Astolfo were shipwrecked, asks the newcomers if they have any news of his father, who one day disappeared without trace. Oberto is scarcely out of sight when Bradamante (Ricciardo) and Melisso confront Ruggiero; however, he scoffs at both Melisso and Bradamante, whom he takes for Ricciardo. The appearance of Oronte, Alcina’s general, makes the situation all the more difficult for the two disguised as soldiers. Oronte is in love with Morgana and regards the supposed Ricciardo as his rival; he accordingly challenges Bradamante to a duel. Morgana renounces their relationship, in response to which Oronte devises an intrigue: he tells Ruggiero that Alcina changes all her former lovers into rocks, streams and beasts, and that Ruggiero too will soon share this fate, since Alcina has fallen in love with the recently arrived Ricciardo. Beside himself with jealousy, Ruggiero accuses Alcina of being unfaithful and demands that she turn Ricciardo into a wild beast to prove her devotion. Morgana hastens to warn Bradamante, whom she supposes to be Ricciardo; Bradamante pretends to be in love with Morgana to prove that she is not interested in Alcina.


While searching for Alcina, Ruggiero comes upon Melisso. He has disguised himself as Atlante, Ruggiero’s former tutor, and gives Ruggiero a magic ring. The ring makes Ruggiero come to his senses again; he remembers his love for Bradamante and no longer has any feelings for Alcina. Morgana manages to persuade Alcina not to change Ricciardo into a wild beast, and Ruggiero too, who feigns love for Alcina, declares that her intention to transform Ricciardo has laid his jealousy to rest. Without delay, Ruggiero then asks Alcina’s permission to go hunting alone. Alcina gives her permission, little knowing that Ruggiero plans to go hunting with the sole intention of fleeing Alcina’s kingdom. Oronte finally informs Alcina of Ruggiero’s plan, whereupon Alcina calls upon demons to help her win back Ruggiero’s love. In deep despair, she realizes that her magic power is no longer effective. Morgana too realizes that she has fallen in love with a woman disguised as a man.


Morgana now returns to her former lover, Oronte. For her part, Alcina is still unable to rekindle Ruggiero’s love for her; on the contrary, he is even willing to fight for his freedom. Finally, Ruggiero and his allies overcome Alcina’s forces and destroy the urn that once secured her magic powers. Alcina’s kingdom and the bewitched creatures are immediately restored to their original form – including Oberto’s father, who had been transformed into a lion. All praise the victorious power of true love.

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