Libretto by anonymous author inspired by Ludovico Ariosto`s Orlando furioso
Music Director: Andrea Marcon
Director: Katie Mitchell
Movement Director: Joseph W. Alford
Designer: Chloe Lamford
Lightning Designer: James Farncombe
Costume Designer: Laura Hopkins
Chief Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
Assistants to Director: Robin Tebbut, Gilles Rico
With no news from her fiance Ruggiero, the valiant Bradamante has decided to search for him in the guise of her own brother Ricciardo, accompanied by Ruggiero’s former tutor Melisso.
Bradamante and Melisso land on the enchanted island of the magician Alcina where they are welcomed by Alcina’s sister, Morgana, who immediately falls under the spell of the imposter Ricciardo. Ruggiero appears next with Alcina, bewitched by her charms. The young Oberto then enters: he is in search of his father, who has also fallen under the spell of the magician. Blinded by Alcina’s love, Ruggiero refuses to recognize his fiancee under the clothes of Ricciardo, ignoring Melisso’s warnings. Jealous of the imposter Ricciardo, Oronte, the would-be suitor of Morgana, makes Ruggiero believe that Alcina has fallen for Ricciardo, which triggers the ire of the young man. He then suggests to his mistress that she pushes away this rival by saving for him the same fate as the other men detained here: he asks her to transform him into a beast or a plant! Morgana hastens to warn Ricciardo who, in light of the situation, sees no other choice but to feign love for the young woman.
Melisso manages to bring Ruggiero back to reality. But when Bradamante appears, Ruggiero thinks it is a false apparition created by Alcina, and he rebuffs his fiancee. Just as Alcina is about to transform Ricciardo into a wild beast, she is stopped in mid-action by Morgana then by Ruggiero. Then, Ruggiero pretends to want to go hunting. Alcina authorizes him to leave. She promises Oberto that he will see his father again soon. Oronte then comes to announce the escape of Ruggiero and Ricciardo. Alcina collapses.
Now that he has revealed Ricciardo’s treason, Oronte thinks he can win back Morgana’s love. As for Alcina, betrayed, she invokes infernal powers to take her vengeance, but they no longer respond to her call.
Repentant, Morgana draws close to Oronte. Alcina, desperate, tries to keep Ruggiero from escaping, but he proves determined to leave her. Bradamante, Ruggiero, and Melisso agree to reduce Alcina’s palace to rubble and return the magician’s former lovers to their human form. When Bradamante shatters the spells, Alcina and Morgana lose their power, while the animals and plants, including Oberto’s father, take back their human form.