Georg Friedrich Händel


Sun /
nov 24
StaatenHaus Saal 2 / 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. / Premiere / 20 € - 140 €
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Introduction 30 Minutes before the start of the performance in Saal 3.


Orlando is obsessively in love with Angelica and tries with all his might to win her over. This causes the wizard Zoroastro concern, as Orlando is neglecting his duty as a warrior. When Orlando finds out that Angelica is in love with the soldier Medoro instead of him, he goes mad with jealousy, hallucinates a descent into the underworld and resolves to destroy everything and everyone. Will Zoroastro achieve his goal and get Orlando back onto the “right path”?

In Ludovico Ariosto’s “Orlando furioso”, “The Frenzy of Orlando” from 1516, George Frideric Handel found suitable material about the labyrinthine paths of passion, which inspired him to write three operas: after “Orlando” (1733), he returned to the epic poem for “Ariodante” and “Alcina” (both 1735). At that time, Handel was practically running the Haymarket Theatre in London single-handedly and was in the fortunate position of being able to compose operas to his own liking.

Musically, Handel departs from the tradition of opera seria here. Da capo arias are replaced by one-part ariosi and accompagnati, which no longer merely express the affect but the unprocessed feelings of the characters. The form of the opera follows the dramatic action and appears to progressively unravel, culminating in the great mad scene in the finale of the second act. Although the premiere on 27 January 1733 was well received, the star castrato Senesino terminated his contract after just ten performances. He felt that the role of the title hero was too unconventional, so he was unable to sufficiently develop his singing skills as a “primo uomo”. Yet “Orlando” continues to captivate audiences to this day with its virtuoso melodies and touching psychograms of the protagonists.

The highly acclaimed production by Rafael R. Villalobos, which was first shown at the Festival Perelada in Spain in 2021, provides a cross-reference to Virginia Woolf’s novel “Orlando - A Biography” and also takes the relationship triangle between the author Woolf, her friend Vita Sackville-West and her lover Violet Trefusis as the starting point for the character constellation. The baroque specialist Rubén Dubrovsky, who returns to the podium of the Gürzenich Orchestra after “Giulio Cesare in Egitto” and “Idomeneo”, provides the musical direction.


Musikalische Leitung Rubén Dubrovsky / Inszenierung Rafael R. Villalobos / Bühne Emanuele Sinisi / Kostüme Rafael R. Villalobos / Licht Albert Faura / Dramaturgie Svenja Gottsmann /

Continuo Laute / Theorbe I
Continuo Laute / Theorbe II

Further performances