The action is set in Edinburgh in legendary times. The Scottish king’s daughter Ginevra is being wooed by Polinesso even though she is in love with Ariodante her betrothed. To take revenge on Ariodante, Polinesso takes advantage of the unrequited love that Ginevra’s attendant Dalinda feels for him and convinces her to dress up as Ginevra and let him enter the royal chambers. When Ariodante appears to meet with Ginevra that night he is so devastated by the scene he encounters that he jumps off a cliff into the sea. Ariodante’s brother Lurcanio, another witness to the sham tryst, describes it to the king who condemns his daughter to death for her scandalous behaviour. However, Ariodante is not really dead but hiding in the woods with Dalinda now so disenchanted in her love for Polinesso that she confesses to the deceit. For the sake of Ariodante’s honour, Lurcanio challenges Polinesso to a duel and kills him. In order to save Ginevra from death, Ariodante appears and describes to the King how they have all been duped.
Georg Friedrich Händel
18 Mar, 18
Musical conductor: William Christie
William Christie, the specialist in Baroque music, and his established Les Arts Florissants, return to the Teatro Real with one of the jewels of this repertory; one of the most delicate of Händel’s works: Ariodante. Inspired by the epic poem, Orlando furioso, by Ludovico Ariosto, the score has some of the most difficult da capo arias by the German composer.
Ambition, betrayal, lies and jealousy trigger the turbulent events destined to destroy the love between Ariodante and Ginevra. In the end, truth prevails and the love triumphs.
Opera seria in three acts
Music by Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759)
Libretto by Antonio Salvi, after the libretto from Ginevra Principessa di Scozia (1708) by Giacomo Antonio Perti, based on cantos IV and VI of the poem Orlando furioso (1532) by Ludovico Ariosto
Premierd at the Covent Garden Theatre in London on 8 January 1735
Premierd at the Teatro Real in concert version on 29 March 2007
Synopsis of Ariodante
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