OPERA IN ONE PROLOGUE AND THREE SCENES
Libretto by Ferdinando Saracinelli
The entire world of art and artists was captivated by her charismatic character and her extraordinary talent: Francesca Caccini was the first woman who succeeded in establishing herself as a professional composer and leaving behind significant operatic works. At the same time she appeared on stage as a singer with her mother and sister as “Donne di Caccini” – one of the first-ever “girl groups” in the history of music. So it is hardly surprising that her first opera, La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina (The liberation of Ruggiero from Alcina’s island) written in 1625, puts the spotlight on tough women who can look after themselves. The knight Ruggiero has landed on the island ruled by the sorceress Alcina where he intends to devote himself solely to pleasure. However, the warmongering fairy Melissa takes it upon herself to order Ruggiero back to the battlefield – but is this really the promised “liberation”? At the crossover from Renaissance to early Baroque, Caccini develops a musical kaleidoscope between harmonically audacious recitatives and madrigals which is now brought to life by early music expert Clemens Flick in his own interpretation.
In Italian with surtitles
Introduction to the work 30 minutes before the performance
La Folia Barockorchester
Jerilyn Chou, Bernarda Klinar, Anle Gou, Jubin Amiri:
CAMPUS-Kooperation mit Studierenden der Kunstuniversität Graz, der Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien und der Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
Prologue Neptune, god of the sea, comes onto the mainland at Tuscany to honour the local monarchs and their guest, King Władysław of Poland, with a festivity. He invites the river god Vistula and the other sea gods to join him and announces the tale that tells how the hero Ruggiero was freed from the clutches of the sorceress Alcina.
Scene 1Melissa, a fairy, travels to the island ruled by the sorceress Alcina. The famed warrior Ruggiero is staying on the island, thus avoiding his military duties. It is clear that he has fallen under the spell of Alcina’s powers of seduction. Ruggiero’s fiancée Bradamante has given Melissa the task of rescuing Ruggiero. So that she is not recognised she takes the form of the sorcerer Atlante.
Scene 2 Ruggiero and Alcina have withdrawn to an idyllic spot hidden among the leaves and are savouring the pleasures of love. Alcina is worried that she is not beautiful enough for her lover, but Ruggiero, in a torrent of words, manages to dispel her doubts. The sorceress then has to attend to urgent affairs of state and leaves the former warrior alone in the garden. She has commanded various figures and creatures to sing for him to while away the time, including a shepherd and a mermaid who describe their amorous adventures. Melissa, in the form of Atlante, interrupts the serenade and confronts Ruggiero. She bitterly reproaches him and urges him to leave Alcina and return to the battlefield. Ruggiero agrees immediately and starts to hurry away with her. But the plants hold them back: in reality, they are people who have been turned into plants by Alcina and now ask for aid. Melissa promises to help them. – Alcina returns and is surprised to find her lover gone. Oronte, her servant, tells her what has just happened: she says Ruggiero spent some time talking to an old man who suddenly changed back into the fairy Melissa and reminded Ruggiero of his love for Bradamante. Ruggiero then repeated his intention to leave Alcina. The sorceress decides to fight for the man she loves. But all her efforts to persuade him to stay – whether she tries seduction, anger or despair – are in vain. Melissa announces that she will free all the enchanted people and creatures on the island one by one.
Scene 3 Alcina
has summoned monsters to kill Ruggiero and turns the island into a sea of fire.
But she has no answer to Melissa’s powerful magic and in the end leaves the now
desolate and rocky island. Melissa saves all the people that Alcina had
enchanted, and they all join in a celebration of their new-found freedom.