Alcina

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February 2023
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From Ludovico Ariosto's epic poem Orlando furioso , Händel wrote one of his most popular and inspired operas. Full of fantasy and melodic wit, Il c aro Sassone made - along with Orlando and Ariodante - one of his roundest works.

Released in London's Covent Garden in 1735, it presents a story full of Homeric echoes where the magnificent character of the betrayed witch Alcina draws heroes to her island to seduce them and forget their own land. The fight between Ruggiero and Bradamante to get rid of the evil witch still captivates us. Truffled with the most beautiful vocal pages of his production, Alcina , in its English premiere, featured such important singers as Carestini and Negri.

Is it a risk of perverted love or the delights of unbridled passion? Beyond the supernatural theme, Händel's genius was able to portray Alcina, perhaps one of the most complete and well-profiled soprano roles in opera, as a woman who suffers: deeply human and moving. Each aria is a progressive exercise in psychological deepening where the singing of the defeated witch awakens a strange compassion within us.

A mirage between love and passion, Alcina seems tailor-made for vocal pyrotechnics and to develop the character of the characters in this love drama.

Marc Minkowski, French director and true Handelian specialist, knows how to look for all colors (from subtlety to ambiguity) and will offer an ambitious reading of the work in which feelings, magic and betrayal are mixed, not without a dose of humor. Minkowski, with an extraordinary bouquet of soloists and at the head of his group, Les Musiciens du Louvre, will be able to discover the emotions and desires hidden with all the expressiveness desired by the composer. "I'm looking forward to it again."

Alcina
Opera in three acts
Libretto by Antonio Marchi based onLudovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso
Absolute premiere: 16/4/1735 at the Royal Opera House in London
Premiere in Barcelona: 9/6/1943 at the Teatre Tívoli
Premiere at the Liceu : 21/3/1999 at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya (as a season of the Liceu)
Last performance at the Liceu: 21/3/1999
Total performances at the Liceu: 6

Approximate duration3h 50min

Program and cast

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Barcelona's opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, was founded on the Rambla in 1847 and has continued over the years to fulfil its role as a culture and arts centre and one of the symbols of the city.

Today it is publicly-owned (by the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Provincial Council and the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte) and administered by the Fundació del Gran Teatre del Liceu which, in addition to the aforementioned bodies, incorporates the Patronage Council and the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu (the old society of owners).
 

Origins: From 1837 to 1847

The Liceu evolved out of the Sociedad Dramática de Aficionados (Society of theatre-lovers) set up in 1837 at the instigation of Manuel Gibert in the former convent of Montsió by members of the National Militia, an organization of armed citizens with liberal leanings.
Barcelona's economy and population were growing fast at the time and the city needed a music conservatory. This led to the conversion of the Sociedad Dramática into the Liceo Filármonico Dramático Barcelonés de S.M. la Reina Isabel II (Barcelona Dramatic and Philharmonic Lyceum of HM Queen Isabel II).  In addition to its theatrical activities, the new organization cultivated Italian-style singing and music.
 

The building on the Rambla

The original building was solemnly opened on 4 April 1847. The plans had been drawn up by Miquel Garriga i Roca, subsequently assisted by Josep Oriol Mestres. The project was funded by selling shares, which meant that many of the boxes and seats were to be privately owned. The shareholders formed the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu, known as the “Societat de Propietaris” (Society of Owners),  which was in sole charge of running the Gran Teatre del Liceu from 1855 onwards, after it was legally separated from the Conservatori del Gran Teatre del Liceu.
The theatre was operated by impresarios who were given a concession to stage a specific number of productions in exchange for the proceeds from the sale of tickets not reserved for the Societat itself. This system was to endure until 1980.
 

The creation of the Consortium

By the last quarter of the 20th century this management system was no longer viable. In 1980, to avert the danger of the disappearance of an institution of such worldwide cultural renown, the Generalitat  Catalonia's first government in modern times – set up a consortium, the Consorci del Gran Teatre del Liceu, which also incorporated Barcelona City Council and the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu. Barcelona Provincial Council joined the Consortium in 1985, followed by the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 1986. From then on the Consortium took over operation of the theatre.

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