Israeli Opera: Alcina

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Alcina/Photo: Pini Siluk

Illusion, intrigue and true love abound in George Frideric Handel’s Alcina, to be performed at the Israeli Opera, directed by Ido Ricklin, and conducted by Ethan Schmeisser. The sorceress Alcina casts a spell on those she desires, making them fall in love with her, yet when she tires of them, she turns them into objects, plants, or animals. Her powers remain unchallenged until the day she encounters Ruggiero, and the great sorceress falls in love. The Baroque opera, which premiered in 1735, has never before been performed at the Israeli Opera. In addition to a stellar creative team – set designer Roni Toren, costume designer Oren Dar, lighting designer Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi), movement designer Iftach Mizrahi and video designer Nimrod Zin – Barrocade, the Israeli Baroque Collective, who specialize in early music and perform on period instruments, will accompany the opera. Performances will take place from May 16 – 30, 2022.

Yael Levita (Alcina) and Vince Yi (Ruggiero)/Photo: Michael Topyol

The opera will feature wonderful Israeli soloists, with Yael Levita portraying the powerful Alcina, and Hila Fahima in the role of her sister, Morgana. Oded Reich will be Melisso, Ruggiero’s tutor who accompanies Bradamante, portrayed by Anat Czarny, in her search for her lost lover. The role of Oronte, Morgana’s lover whom she abandons in favor of Ricciardo (who is actually Bradamante) – yes, it’s a tangle, will be performed by Eitan Drori.

Hila Fahima (Morgana) and Anat Czarny (Ricciardo/Bradamante)/Photo: Michael Topyol

Director Ido Ricklin has set the opera in the Film Noir era of the 1950s, with the events taking place in an elegant manor. Ricklin stated: “The legend of Alcina describes a sorceress who tempts men and then cruelly discards them. But Handel’s music creates a fascinating twist. The arias he composed for Alcina describe a fatal woman – motivated by a love larger than life. She may be dangerous to the men who fall in love with her, but when she falls in love, her heartbreak is tragic. The deeper I delved into the narrative and music of Alcina, I was reminded of the great stars of Hollywood’s Film Noir era, and especially the unforgettable character of Norma Desmond from the film Sunset Boulevard. Norma Desmond, like Alcina and her sister Morgana, lives in the glory of her past, voluntarily imprisoned in an enchanted house. Like them, she cold-heartedly cast her spell on men, until a young man arrived who broke her heart. This inspiration gave our production its direction. The two sisters, Alcina and Morgana, live in expectation of one thing only – a man who will stir their heart once more. Ruggiero and Bradamante, the knights, become two young motorcyclists of the new generation, who come to the sisters’ home and destroy their lives. Alcina’s enchantments imprison Ruggiero in a world of mirrors and illusion from which he struggles to escape, until the opera reaches its tragic conclusion.”

Performances will take place: Monday, May 16th at 20:00; Wednesday, May 18th at 19:30 (premiere); Friday, May 27th at 13:00; Saturday, May 28th at 21:00; Monday, May 5th at 20:00. An introductory lecture (in Hebrew) will take place an hour before the performance – admission is free for ticket holders. Tickets may be ordered online from the Israeli Opera: https://www.israel-opera.co.il/eng/