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Cornish Opera Theater presents “La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina”

November 07, 2011

Music direction by internationally renowned early music specialist Stephen Stubbs
Stage direction and choreography by Anna Mansbridge
Four performances only: November 10-13.

Cornish Opera Theater presents La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina (The Liberation of Ruggiero from the Island of Alcina), a rarely performed 17th Century Italian baroque opera by Francesca Caccini, and the first opera ever composed by a woman in 1625. Noted baroque choreographer Anna Mansbridge directs this production for the stage. Stephen Stubbs leads the period instrument ensemble featuring Stubbs on lute and guitar, Jillon Stoppels Dupree on harpsichord, Maxine Eilander on harp, Margriet Tindemans on viola da gamba, and Tekla Cunningham on violin. The cast features tenor Ross Hauck, as Ruggiero, and Cornish Artist Diploma in Early Music students Christine Knackstedt, mezzo soprano, as Alcina, José Luis Muñoz, countertenor, as Melissa, and Erika Chang, soprano, as Sirena. Noted Seattle Opera lighting designer Connie Yun lights the production, with sets by Cornish alum Montana Tippett and costumes by Christine Meyers.

Performances of La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina run November 10 to 13 at PONCHO Hall, 710 East Roy St., in Seattle. Running time with intermission is approximately 80 minutes. The work is sung in Italian with English supertitles. A synopsis and more detailed program information appears below.

The story on which the opera is based is excerpted from the 16th Century Italian epic Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto, a well-known work at the time: Ruggiero, a heroic Saracen champion, has been enslaved in love by the evil sorceress Alcina on her enchanted island. Melissa, a good sorceress, comes to rescue Ruggiero from this degenerate life disguised as his old tutor, Atlas. She reminds Ruggiero of his duty as a noble warrior of the Christian armies, and of his love for Brademante, a woman warrior. Through Melissa’s persuasive words, Ruggerio realizes his folly and throws off Alcina’s gifts of love in exchange for his armor. When Alcina returns, Ruggerio is indifferent to he rpleas of love and he rejects her. Thus spurned, Alcina in fury summons monsters of the deep to seek revenge on Ruggerio. Melissa returns and frees enchanted damsels, whom Alcina had turned into flowers and plants. Alcina returns “in a monstrous boat woven of whale bones, with a Chorus of Monsters.” Melissa’s magic is more powerful than Alcina’s, and she banishes her. Melissa then frees enchanted knights who were former lovers of the freed damsels, and who were ensnared by Alcina. They dance, with much rejoicing, that the wicked Alcina has been defeated.

La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina
November 10-12, 8 pm
November 13, 3 pm
710 East Roy Street, Seattle, WA
Free parking available in garage near the corner of Boylston and Roy streets.

Tickets: $20 general, $15 seniors, $10 students and Cornish alumni (w/ID)
Further information and tickets available online.