Ted Huffman’s production of Handel’s Rinaldo is on stage at the Frankfurt Opera, Germany, from 16 September to 3 October 2017
Rinaldo is the first opera Georg Friedrich Handel wrote for a theatre in London and the first Italian work for music theatre comissioned in England. The World Premiere of the first edition took place on February 24th 1711 in the Queenʼs Theatre Haymarket and was an enormous success. Handel had catered perfectly for Londoners’ tastes – they loved lavish theatre machinery and scenery. This magical opera by the master from Sachsen was just the ticket. But it was Handel’s richly varied, enigmatic music, beautiful arias and duets that made its success complete. He helped himself freely to ideas from earlier works placing, for example, war-like arias like Rinaldo’s „Or la tromba“ – in which the vocal line competes with four trumpets – alongside emotional lamenti like Almirena’s „Lascia chʼio pianga“, perhaps the best known melody in this opera.
The story takes place in the Holy Land during the first crusade (1099): the Christian knight Rinaldo may only marry his betrothed, Almirena, after he has driven the Saracens out of Jerusalem. Their king, Argante, loves the sorceress Armida, Queen of Damascus. She has set herself the task of ensuring that Rinaldo’s mission will fail, to further her own political ambitions. Now begins a complicated game during the course of which Almirena and Rinaldo are abducted by Armida. After Argante’s eye has been caught by steadfast Almirena and Rinaldo sees through Armida’s attempt to seduce him, disguised as his betrothed, the Christians, helped by Rinaldo’s battle strategies, win the battle. In the end, all praise the value of virtue.
|Annemarie Woods – Rinaldo (G. F. Handel) – 2017