Alcina and Ruggiero:  Sorceress and Knight

Well…as we know great knights are always striving. Striving for something great like the love of a princess.

alcina_knightIn this story our hero the knight Ruggiero, loves the princess Bradamante and plans to marry her but there is trouble. She is trapped in a tower.  No problem, Ruggiero saves her, but out of nowhere comes a magical hippogriff –shaped like a horse but with the head, wings and claws of an eagle– and carries him away to an enchanted isle in the middle of the ocean, a magical isle where nothing is what it seems to be.  The plants, the rocks, even the wild animals on this island are all former knights who have been trapped in spells cast by the sorceress Alcina.  hippogriff

Bradamante, however,  is no ordinary princess.  She is a strong willed fighter, who never gives up, and she is not happy to learn that her Ruggiero has disappeared.  So Bradamante puts on a suit of armor –nothing too girlish for this princess– and sets out, with the help of the old teacher Melisso, to find her guy and she does, but this is only the beginning.  Ruggiero, when Bradamante finds him, is already in love with the sorceress Alcina and remembers nothing about Bradamante who now looks like any other knight in armor.

Fortunately the princess Bradamante and Melisso have a magic ring that protects them from Alcina’s magic and allows them to see the isle for what it really is –a desert island.  All of this is confusing, nothing is what it seems and we –just like Ruggiero and all of the other spell bound knights– can only hope that someone will figure out what is really going on and rescue everyone.

Our SFEMS Music Discovery Workshop performance of this fantastical tale is a spoken play accompanied by songs, dances, and even a duel in Baroque style. The music is a pastiche from not one but two Alcina operas – by George Frederick Handel in early-18th century England and by the 17th century Italian composer Francesca Caccini – mixed with singable English choruses from other Handel works.

Shula_85Director Shulamit Kleinerman draws on her long experience with Seattle Historical Arts for Kids presenting masterworks of early music, dance, and drama that put young people at center stage. Discover just how engaging these colorful early arts can be.

 

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