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Alcina tickets

 
 
Alcina

Venue: Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

 
15 Avenue Montaigne
75008 Paris
France
 
 
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Event details
 
Composer: Georg Friedrich Haendel

Synopsis


Prologue

The background of the opera comes from the poem Orlando Furioso. The heroic knight Ruggiero is destined to a short but glorious life, and a benevolent magician is always whisking him away from the arms of his fiancée, Bradamante. Bradamante is not the type to put up with the constant disappearance of her lover, and she spends vast portions of the poem in full armor chasing after him. Just before the opera begins she has rescued him from an enchanted castle, only to have her flying horse (a hippogriff) take a fancy to Ruggiero and fly off with him. Ruggiero and the hippogriff land on an island in the middle of the ocean. As the hippogriff begins to eat the leaves of a myrtle bush, Ruggiero is startled to hear the bush begin to speak. The bush reveals that it was once a living soul named Sir Astolfo, and the island belongs to the sister sorceresses Alcina and Morgana. The beautiful Alcina seduces every knight that lands on her isle, but soon tires of her lovers and changes them into stones, animals, plants, or anything that strikes her fancy. Despite Astolfo's warning, Ruggiero strides off to meet this sorceress – and falls under her spell.


Act 1

Bradamante, again searching for her lover, arrives on Alcina's island with Ruggiero's former tutor, Melisso. Dressed in armor, Bradamante looks like a young man and goes by the name of her own brother, Ricciardo. She and Melisso possess a magic ring which enables the wearer to see through illusion, which they plan to use to break Alcina's spells and release her captives.

The first person they meet is the sorceress Morgana. Barely human and with no understanding of true love, she immediately abandons her own lover Oronte for the handsome 'Ricciardo.' Morgana conveys the visitors to Alcina's court, where Bradamante is dismayed to discover that Ruggiero is besotted with Alcina and in a state of complete amnesia about his previous life. Also at Alcina's court is a boy, Oberto, who is looking for his father, Astolfo, who was last seen heading toward this island. Bradamante guesses that Astolfo is now transformed into something, but she holds her peace and concerns herself with Ruggiero. Bradamante and Melisso rebuke Ruggiero for his desertion, but he can't think of anything except Alcina.

Meanwhile, Oronte discovers that Morgana has fallen in love with 'Ricciardo,' and challenges 'him' to a duel. Morgana stops the fight, but Oronte is in a foul mood and takes it out on Ruggiero. He tells the young man exactly how Alcina treats her former lovers and adds that, as far as he can tell, Alcina has fallen in love with the newcomer, Ricciardo. Ruggiero is horrified and overwhelms Alcina with his jealous fury. Things get even worse when 'Ricciardo' enters and pretends to admire Alcina. Alcina calms Ruggiero, but Bradamante is so upset at seeing her fiancé wooed before her very eyes that she reveals her true identity to Ruggiero. Melisso hastily contradicts her and Ruggiero becomes very confused.
 
Alcina tells Morgana that she plans to turn Ricciardo into an animal, just to show Ruggiero how much she really loves him. Morgana begs Ricciardo to escape the island and Alcina's clutches, but 'he' says he'd rather stay, as he loves another. Morgana believes that this other person is herself, and the act ends with Alcina's aria "Tornami a vagheggiar". (In some productions. this aria is sung by Morgana. )


Act 2

Melisso recalls Ruggiero to reason and duty by letting him wear the magic ring: under its influence, Ruggiero sees the island as it really is—a desert, peopled with monsters. Appalled, he realizes he must leave, and sings the famous aria "Verdi prati" ("Green meadows") where he admits that even though he knows the island and Alcina are mere illusion, their beauty will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Melisso warns Ruggiero that he cannot just leave; Alcina still wields immense power, and he should cover his escape by telling her that he wishes to go hunting. Ruggiero agrees, but, thoroughly bewildered by the magic and illusion surrounding him, he refuses to believe his eyes when he at last sees Bradamante as herself, believing that she may be another of Alcina's illusions. Bradamante is in despair, as is Alcina. Convinced of Ruggiero's indifference, she enters to turn Ricciardo into an animal, and Ruggiero has to pull himself together quickly and convince the sorceress that he does not need any proof of her love. It is at this point that the audience realises that Alcina genuinely loves Ruggiero; from now until the end of the opera, she is depicted sympathetically.

Oronte realizes that Ricciardo, Melisso and Ruggiero are in some sort of alliance, and Morgana and Alcina realise they are being deceived. But it is too late: Alcina's powers depend on illusion and, as true love enters her life, her magic powers slip away. As the act ends, Alcina tries to call up evil spirits to stop Ruggiero from leaving her, but her magic fails her.


Act 3

After this the opera finishes swiftly. Morgana and Oronte try to rebuild their relationship; she returns to him and he rebuffs her but (once she is offstage) admits he loves her still. Ruggiero returns to his proper heroic status and sings an aria accompanied by high horns; Oberto is introduced to a lion, to whom he feels strangely attached, and Alcina sings a desolate aria in which she longs for oblivion.

Bradamante and Ruggiero decide that they need to destroy the source of Alcina's magic, usually represented as an urn. Alcina pleads with them, but Ruggiero is deaf to her appeals and smashes the urn. As he does so, everything is both ruined and restored. Alcina's magic palace crumbles to dust and she and Morgana sink into the ground, but Alcina's lovers are returned to their proper selves. The lion turns into Oberto's father, Astolfo, and other people stumble on, "I was a rock," says one, "I a tree" says another, and "I a wave in the ocean..." All the humans sing of their relief and joy, and Alcina is forgotten.

 
Program details
 

Alcina 

 

Georg Friedrich Haendel 

Opera in three acts HWV 34 (1735) 
Anonymous booklet from Orlando Furioso of Ariosto 
 

Emmanuelle Haïm, direction
Christof Loy, staging
Thomas Wilhelm, choreography
Johannes Leiacker, design
Ursula Renzenbrink, costumes
Bernd Purkrabek,  lights


Cecilia Bartoli, Alcina
Philippe Jaroussky, Ruggiero
Julie Fuchs, Morgana
Varduhi Abrahamyan, Bradamante
Christoph Strehl, Oronte
Krzysztof Bączyk, Melisso
Barbara Goodman, Cupido


Orchestre et Chœur du Concert d’Astrée


Approximate running time 3h50 with 2 intermissions

 
Venue
 
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
 

The Théâtre des Champs- Elysées is undoubtedly one of the finest venues in Paris . Built in 1913 , it has the distinction of having been designed by a group of artists architects Henry Van de Velde and Auguste Perret , the painter and sculptor Antoine Bourdelle , the painter Maurice Denis , and the crystal- René Lalique to do mention the main ones . He was the first Parisian theater to be built entirely of reinforced concrete.

 

Restoration of the Great Hall devoted to operatic performances , symphony concerts and dance was decided in 1985. Two years later , on 23 September 1987, the theater reopened its doors , completely renovated. Fifteen years after this important work it was decided to undertake a new renovation campaign , but to prevent the complete closure of the theater for an entire season , work is now carried by step during the summer . Then it is to replace aging equipment , to remedy wear certain parts of the theater and improve spectator comfort and artists during their visit . Thus in recent years, including the work involved the renovation of marble facade, replacing the carpet in the room with wooden floors , installation of a new fully decorated wooden concert to a significant improvement of acoustics, the orchestra pit and stage below .

 

The Théâtre des Champs- Elysées is now a modern working tool receiving each year nearly 300,000 spectators and a few thousands of artists and collaborators.

 

The Théâtre des Champs- Elysées , the jewel of French architecture of the twentieth century, was in 1953 one of the first buildings of contemporary architectural heritage to be classified as historic monuments . Since 1970 the Caisse des Dépôts owns the entire building 15 avenue Montaigne and principal patron of the theater.

 

For over a century, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées has been the place where the most celebrated artists have come to make their names in Paris. The world’s finest orchestras and world-class soloists have always been a fixture at the Theatre. Théâtre des Champs-Elysées presents more than 200 concerts each year and is renowned for its outstanding performances of all genres, from classical music concerts and staged opera to contemporary dance and jazz.

 

How to reach us:
 

Subway: Alma-Marceau (line 9), Franklin D.Roosevelt (line 1), Pont de l’Alma (RER line C)

Bus: n° 42, 63, 72, 80, 92
Taxi station: Place de l’Alma, corner of avenue George V
Car park: Alma George V. The entrance is in front of n° 19, avenue George V
Fixed rate depending on the length of the performance. Payment upon entering.

 
 
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