Rodelinda, regina de' Longobardi (Rodelinda, Queen of Lombardy)
Music by George Frideric Handel
Libretto by Nicola Haym
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Love, honour, and devotion shine through Handel's epic story of political intrigue in medieval Lombardy. Devastated by her husband's apparent death and fearful for her son, Queen Rodelinda shows remarkable courage and guile as she challenges Grimoaldo, the tyrant who has usurped the throne and is forcing her into marriage.
One of the most touching depictions of married love in opera, Rodelinda is also a fascinating study of the nuances of villainy, as Grimoaldo grapples with an uneasy conscience and his henchman Garibaldo plumbs the depths of Machiavellian treachery.
Handel's ravishing music illuminates the profound humanity of the characters. This is Baroque opera at its loveliest – utterly graceful, sublimely emotional.
First Performance February 13, 1725, King's Theatre, London
In Italian with English Surtitles
Handel is, for me, the greatest dramatic composer who ever lived, but not only because of the brilliance, the dazzle, the entertainment, the pomp, the magnificence, the special effects. He goes beyond that; he plumbs the depths of his characters by taking them to their breaking-point and beyond. Only Shakespeare takes his characters that far.
Director Peter Sellars on directing Handel (Gramophone, April 2009)