Dramma per musica in three acts (1725)
Music by Georg Friedrich Händel
Libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym
Opera in concert in Italian
Monday, 20 April 2020, 7 pm
The throne of Lombardy has been captured by Grimoaldo: he has violently deposed the rightful ruler, Bertarido, and believes him to be dead. Now he plans to marry Bertarido’s widow Rodelinda. But Bertarido is still alive and returns in disguise to rescue his wife and little son. Grimoaldo’s henchman Garibaldo threatens Rodelinda’s son to try to blackmail her into marrying Grimoaldo. This scene is watched by Bertarido who thinks his wife is unfaithful. But she had only pretended to agree to the demand. When her fidelity becomes clear the couple fall into each other’s arms. Grimoaldo catches them in the act and has his rival thrown into prison without recognising him as his old adversary. Bertarido is rescued by his sister Eduige and saves Grimoaldo from being murdered by Garibaldo. In the end, the usurper is so humbled by Bertarido’s humanity that he returns wife and land to him. The legend of the faithful Rodelinda provided to Handel the opportunity for developing art of the highest order in a musical interpretation of passions, so Rodelinda became one the most successful works in the composer’s lifetime.