Przyslala Basia Jaworski

Dosso Dossi (1479-1542): Alcina

“Well, it’s about sex, isn’t it?” In her introduction to the 2011 Alcina, recorded by Arthaus Musik in Vienna, American thriller writer Donna Leon argues that (we didn’t know this, of course) virtually all operas are about sex, whether it’s Der Rosenkavalier, Madama Butterfly or Dido and Aeneas. With Alcina, the story from Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, set to music by Handel, taking the crown.

Yearning for (young) male flesh, the sorceress, once she is bored, transforms her victims into wild animals and sets out to find new food for … no … not for the soul. Until she herself finally falls in love, which will be her downfall. One could almost feel sorry for her!

The DVD recording from Vienna is exceptionally fine, thanks in part to director Adrian Noble. Unlike other operas by Handel, Alcina contains a lot of ballet music, something that is seamlessly integrated into the beautiful and atmospheric staging.


Anja Harteros is an outstanding Alcina. Her ‘Regina sei tradita’ is followed by a very well-deserved applause. Kassarova is completely in her element as Ruggiero, Adam Plachetka is a delightful Melisso and the young German tenor Benjamin Bruns convinces as a hot-tempered Oronte.

But my heart is stolen by the boy soprano Alois Mühlbacher. The boy is absolutely peerless in the role of Oberto searching for his missing father. Highly recommended!

Below ‘Ah! Mio cor’ by Anja Harteros:

Calosc TUTAJ

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