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The Sunday Opera: Handel's "Orlando" from London's Haymarket Opera

A story of madness borne of a struggle between passion and conflict is on offer on this week’s Sunday Opera (11/14 3:00 p.m.) in George Frideric Handel’s “Orlando” from London’s Haymarket Opera.   Orlando (Bejun Mehta) is a fierce warrior who has fallen in love with Angelica (Kimberly Jones), the Queen of Cathay (China).  However, Angelica is in love with Medoro (Emily Fons), an African prince, who loves her in return.   This love is further complicated by the shepherdess Dorinda (Erica Schuller) who has been sheltering Angelica in her cottage but has also saved the wounded Medoro and nursed him back to health.  Unfortunately, as Angelica and Medoro fell in love, Dorinda also fell in love with Medoro.   When Orlando learns that Angelica does not love him, his internal conflict between his passionate side and his warrior side drives him insane.   This is observed by Zoroastro (David Govertsen), a wizard who pledges to heal Orlando and make all right.   Craig Trumpeter conducts the Haymarket Opera Orchestra with Jory Vinikour at the harpsichord.     

After the opera, join Michael Kownacky for more Handel and his original incidental music for “Alceste,” a play that was abandoned and forgotten for virtually unknown reasons although one suggestion was that Handel’s vocal music was simply too difficult for the assembled cast.   Although the music would later be repurposed for sections of “The Choice of Hercules,” “Alexander Baius,” and “Hercules,” here, it’s in what is considered to be its original form.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.