Is love a disease? The ‘Orlandos’ by Händel and Haydn at the Teatro Real

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The literary figure of Orlandopaladin of Charlemagne, served as the protagonist Ludovico Ariosto for his great Renaissance poem. Orlando is not a character, but a figure or archetype, just like the abundant cast that accompanies him, from the magician Alcina even little shepherds like With Eur. Such fictional entities achieved a literary greatness that continued to nourish eighteenth-century opera. The Teatro Real has brought together two Orlandos, by Händel and Haydn, separated by 49 years that mark the distance between the end of the Baroque and the beginning of classicism, offered in a performed version and in concert.

Handel’s opera concentrates the situation on Angelica’s detachment, who expresses her preference for Medoro, and what interests the composer is the inexhaustible range of sadness, alarm, impatience, fury and outbursts that both suffer. because of the famous Love, which here is conceived as a disease. The version represented sets the adventure in a beach location that shows its various faces thanks to a rotating stage, where the performers walk, run, go up and down, following the orders of Claus Guth, determined to provide variety and movement to endless arias, some more inspired than others. Of the cast, the Dorinda by Giulia Sermenzato and the Medoro by Anthony Roth Costanzo. Ivor Bolton offers us a baroque recital that sounds like that in the ductile orchestra, a rigor that does not detach itself from a certain monotony in the treatment of each piece.

The concert version of the other Orlando, Haydn’s “paladin”, represents a very suggestive contrast, both because of the difference between one music and the other as well as the form of its presentation. Haydn’s opera is described as “eroicomica”, which means that what is of interest here is not love as a disease but a festive display of very exquisite music, serious and festive, which Il Giardino Armonico and its excellent components reveal with liveliness. and an enthusiasm that distances itself from the somber baroque seriousness.

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