G. F. Händel

Garden of Desire

oder wie Rinaldo der Zauberin Armida beinahe erliegt
Duration: est. 75 minutes, no intermission
Musical conduction: Enrico Calesso
Stage and Costume Design: Aylin Kaip
Dramaturgy: Berthold Warnecke
Guibee Yang (Armida)
Silke Evers (Almirena)
Marzia Marzo (Rinaldo)
Roberto Ortiz (Goffredo)
Hinrich Horn (Argante)
Mathew Habib (Una Sirena)
Ihor Tsarkov (Una Sirena)
Philharmonisches Orchester Würzburg
The pasticcio "Garden of Desire" ("Der Garten der Lüste") is based on Handel's "Rinaldo" and leads back to the time of the First Crusade. The Christian troops under Gottfried (Goffredo) of Bouillon besiege Jerusalem, which is defended by the Saracen king, Argante. Against this background, a dazzling story of love and jealousy, deception and disappointment unfolds: Goffredo asks Rinaldo for support in the battle and in return offers him the hand of his daughter Almirena. The sorceress Armida - Argante's lover - succeeds in luring Almirena and Rinaldo into her realm. There, Armida tries in vain to seduce Rinaldo by deception. Not being entangled enough, Argante falls in love with Almirena...

"Rinaldo", premiered on February 24th, 1711 in the Queen's Theatre at the Haymarket. Handel had great success in the first London opera. The plot is borrowed from the famous and often exploited epic "The Liberation of Jerusalem" by the Italian Renaissance poet Torquato Tasso. Theatrical poet Aaron Hill designed the scenario, Giacomo Rossi put it into verse. Handel only had two weeks to compose Rinaldo. Even a genius like Handel was only able to put such an abundance of outstanding music on paper in such a short time by means of the so-called parody process: he took over numerous numbers from earlier works, which had been written especially during his recent trip to Italy. Among these parodies is the most famous melody of the opera, Almirena's heart-rending "Lascia, ch'io pianga". "Garden of Desire" dramatically revolves around the trials and tribulations of the protagonists in Armida's magic kingdom, as they are described in the second act of "Rinaldo".