Georg Frideric Handel

Rinaldo

2 July – 22 August 2011
Glyndebourne Festival 2011

Following on from productions of Theodora, Rodelinda and Giulio Cesare, Glyndebourne continues to celebrate the genius of Handel with its first staging of Rinaldo, the work with which he made his sensational London debut – and the first Italian opera specifically created for the British stage.

Loosely based on Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata – an already wildly fantastical fictionalisation of the Christian ‘liberation’ of Jerusalem during the First Crusade – Rinaldo was consciously intended to marry the new style of aria-led Italian opera seria with the spectacular scenic effects favoured by such native English ‘semi-operas’ as Purcell’s The Fairy Queen. As a result, Rinaldo not only boasts one of Handel’s most richly enticing scores but is also, as the Spectator put it after the premiere in 1711, ‘filled with Thunder and Lightning, Illuminations, and Fireworks’.

Directed by Robert Carsen, who made his Festival debut with L’incoronazione di Poppea in 2008, Rinaldo is conducted by Ottavio Dantone, Music Director of the acclaimed Italian period ensemble Accademia Bizantina. The cast is headed by Sonia Prina in the title-role of the heroic crusader, with Sandrine Piau as his beloved Almirena, Brenda Rae as the seductive Saracen sorceress Armida, and Luca Pisaroni (last summer’s Leporello) as her duplicitous ally Argante, the King of Jerusalem.

A new production for the 2011 Festival.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

This new production is generously supported by Carol and Paul Collins, through Glyndebourne Association America Inc.

Listen to the Rinaldo podcast (14 mins)

Director Robert Carsen and Dramaturg Ian Burton talk to James Whitbourn about Handel's Rinaldo.

Edition by David R. Kimbell by arrangement with Bärenreiter-Edition, Kassel and Faber Music Ltd, London

Setting: During the first Crusade

Act I

Goffredo, helped by his brother Eustazio, is leading the Crusader army in its siege of Jerusalem. Goffredo’s daughter Almirena is loved by the knight Rinaldo. Goffredo tells Rinaldo that he may marry his daughter if he is victorious in battle. A herald announces the approach of Argante, general of the enemy Saracen army. Argante requests a three-day truce, to which Goffredo assents. Alone, Argante waits for his lover Armida, the powerful sorceress and Saracen Queen. She appears and informs Argante that their only chance of victory lies in depriving the Christian forces of Rinaldo’s support. She herself is prepared to undertake this task.

Rinaldo and Almirena reaffirm their love. Suddenly, Armida and her forces attack them and abduct Almirena. Goffredo and Eustazio arrive. When the distraught Rinaldo tells them what has happened, Eustazio suggests that the Christian Magus will be able to help them. Rinaldo leads them all in their mission to rescue Almirena.

Short interval of 25 minutes

Act II

Near a lake, Goffredo, Eustazio and Rinaldo are struggling to find the Christian Magus, when suddenly a beautiful woman appears in a boat. She promises Rinaldo that she will lead him to Almirena. To his companions’ dismay, Rinaldo impulsively jumps on board, and the boat vanishes.

Almirena is now Armida’s captive. She is guarded by Argante, who confesses that he has fallen in love with her. He promises that he will defy Armida and free Almirena if she returns his love, but she rejects him.

Rinaldo, now also a captive, is brought before Armida. He angrily demands that Almirena be set free. Against her will, Armida finds herself falling in love with her enemy. She attempts to seduce him by magically transforming herself into Almirena. Rinaldo, suspecting trickery, rejects her.

Argante now appears and, mistaking the transformed Armida for Almirena, repeats his earlier declarations of love. Armida, outraged by his infidelity, vows vengeance and departs in fury.

Dinner interval of approximately 85 minutes

Act III

Goffredo and Eustazio finally find the Christian Magus, who gives them the magic powers they need to enter Armida’s palace unharmed.

Armida is about to kill Almirena. Rinaldo, still a prisoner, is powerless to prevent her, when suddenly Goffredo and Eustazio come to the captives’ aid. Goffredo, Almirena and Rinaldo rejoice at being finally reunited.

Argante and Armida, now reconciled, prepare their troops. Goffredo’s army also advances, led by Rinaldo, and the battle commences. The Crusaders are victorious. Rinaldo and Almirena celebrate their love, while Armida and Argante accept their defeat. Goffredo forgives the enemy and sets them free, as they all join in a chorus of reconciliation.

Robert Carsen

Creative team

Conductor Ottavio Dantone
Director Robert Carsen
Designer Gideon Davey
Lighting designer Robert Carsen and Peter van Praet
Movement director Philippe Giraudeau
Dramaturg Ian Burton

Cast includes

Rinaldo Sonia Prina
Goffredo Varduhi Abrahamyan
Eustazio Tim Mead
Almirena Anett Fritsch / Miriam Khalil (9 July)
Armida Brenda Rae
Argante Luca Pisaroni / Riccardo Novaro (17 and 21 July)
A Christian Magician William Towers

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Audio files: 

Audio extracts courtesy of Decca.

This recording is available to buy from the Glyndebourne Shop.

Brenda Rae as Armida and Luca Pisaroni as Argante in the 2011 production of Rinaldo. Photo: Bill Cooper
Anett Fritsch as Almirena in the 2011 production of Rinaldo. Photo: Bill Cooper
Brenda Rae as Armida, Glyndebourne Chorus and dancers in the 2011 production of Rinaldo. Photo: Bill Cooper
William Towers as Christian Magus, Glyndebourne Chorus and dancers in the 2011 production Rinaldo. Photo: Bill Cooper
Sonia Prina as Rinaldo and Brenda Rae as Armida in the 2011 production of Rinaldo. Photo: Bill Cooper
Sonia Prina as Rinaldo in the 2011 production of Rinaldo. Photo: Bill Cooper
The 2011 production of Rinaldo. Photo: Bill Cooper
The 2011 production of Rinaldo. Photo: Bill Cooper
Tim Mead as Eustazio in the 2011 production of Rinaldo. Photo: Bill Cooper

Comments

after all the above, did no one else recollect Ronald Searle and St Trinians? I think it worked best on BBC 4and what an orchestra- its brilliance hugely enhanced the vocals which ( on tv) came across splendidly-nuances, Handelian styles and all. Well done both Beeb and Glyndbourne-this is the way to bring opera to the masses who can never afford the operahouse

Missed this production at the festival but saw the touring version. Can't wait to see the TV showing of the original to compare/contrast.
Particularly the different voices (not just different singers, but different voices) the touring version had three countertenors, what a joy, but the TV version has Rinaldo himself sung by a mezzo. I have also heard that there are spectacular effects not used in the touring version, even though I saw it in house.
So, those who think they have seen Rinaldo already, having seen it on tour, may find it worth while tuning in.

I am only able to write about the PROMS 2011 performance. And I have to say, musically this was an enjoyable Rinaldo.
The obvious omissions / transpositions to the original did make sense to me.

But allow me to mention a few words towards the difficult task to stage this plot. Aaron Hills (Torquato Tasso) story is, from todays political correct thinking, a sheer disaster. So how can you present this beautiful music, and make it an enjoyable evening, without presenting the ugly imperialist message of the original plot.
Being fairly independent, Handel could afford, to treat the material in his very own way. By creating a music, which communicates perfectly his very personal way, to cope with life and to deal with tings. With a big, big sense of humour.

Some directors do beautiful jobs in respecting this "Handelview". Some others in my point of view, do terribly fail by telling another, their very own, story. Or by taking the plot by far too serious. (Indeed, then this is the moment for to close your eyes, if you can)

Have only just read most of the reviews, having seen/heard the performance on 22 August. We feel really sad for the stuffy ones who didn't 'get' it. My wife and I were spellbound. We were reminded of the fabulous Giulio Cesare and to add a jewel moment on the way out for the interval I nearly bumped into Cleopatra and for one heart stopping moment..our eyes crossed!
And my wife wasn't even jealous.

Having read the comments, I think the excellent semi-staged version I saw at the RAH prom on the 25th August might well be the pick of the performances so far. Hope the Tour version is OK - seeing it again in MK!

Brillant conception, well executed. Great fun to watch.

We have been coming to Glyndebourne for 30 odd years, so these comments are well considered.

Sadly, even the fab playing from the orchestra (the recorder and bassoon soli particularly were absolutely breathtaking) and some lovely singing from Luca Pisaroni could not, for me or my companion, both professional musicians, redeem this truly appalling production. We desperately wanted to leave after the interval but, having shelled out so much money on the tickets, stayed to see if things improved. They most certainly didn't.
I found I had one persistent question going round and round inside my head (and voiced outside too, I have to confess) which was - WHY?
So disappointing.

An evening that we enjoyed immensly Wonderful orchestra and singing and a production that zinged with fun wit and imagination. After reading some of the reviews we approached the evening with some misgivings -wrong! It was an evening to remember with joy.

I am among those who absolutely loved this production, but at the same time I would note that there was a significant minority in the audience who did not get the central conceit of this production, that what they were seeing was an extended dream sequence, who therefore found the whole production quite baffling, though the ones I spoke to at the time still found it very entertaining. As someone who had the benefit of the ten years of undiluted misery that a good thorough bullying and an English Public School education confers on it's privileged recipients, it was blindingly obvious to me, but for the those less fortunate(!) perhaps not so? Maybe you should try to signal this with greater clarity in any revival?

But in any case a terrific show. I enjoyed it enough to be tempted to get tickets for the touring production now. Congratulations to all concerned.

I loved this production. With a libretto so nauseating, what else can you do but set it in the head of an adolescent boy? The themes are pure school boy fantasy, so it worked fantastically. The boat scene was absolutely hilarious - surely Handel the entertainer would have approved. I loved Sonya Prina's energy and Tim Mead's singing was delicious. A great evening - thank you.

An enjoyable evening on the whole but we were disappointed that the main part was not sung by a counter-tenor: we felt the contralto was not able to convince us at all of Rinaldo's heroic stature and was visually and vocally underwhelming. The rest of the cast was admirable- in particular the countertenor and the baritone. We felt parts of the production worked: I enjoyed the sirens seduction scene but at other moments the expression "dumbing-down" sprang to mind - the curse of Harry Potter strikes again!

Another great triumph for Glyndbourne. Handel is always marvelous here and we were delighted with Rinaldo. The cast were brilliant, voices perfect for this opera. The production held our attention right to the end,funny, moving and clever. I wanted to see it again as soon as it ended.

Regret that the decision to stage in a school context left us totally cold and unimpressed. The counter-tenor was superb but the female leads didn't stand up by comparison and the whole thing left us feeling disappointed as a lost opportunity. The bikes, football and hockey sticks turned it into a cheap play for laughs that failed to support the potentially wonderful music.

The idea of turning the slightly mundane story of Crusaders versus Saracens into a bullied schoolboy's revenge fantasy was brilliant.

We had not heard a Handel opera before and wanted anexperience that differed from the 'traditional' and in our view too-frequently performed classic operas. In preparation for "Rinaldo" we had, therefore, watched a German art deco production recorded on DVD several times. That particular performance struck us as interesting but the multiple use of counter-tenors made the singing somewhat single-levelled.
In contrast, we thought that your production was fantastic. The "Rinaldo" plot is the silliest we have ever seen in any opera bar perhaps 'Cosi fan tutte', and there is but one way of making it work: send it up, camp it, whatever,just do not take it seriously because it is near-farcical anyway. We thought the concept of the staging quite brilliant, the singing wonderful especially since the selection of the voices created the contrast we missed in that other production; we loved the music as much as we hoped, whatever the 'serious' critics had to say, and the orchestra's performance was wonderful. All very well done.

John and Sonia Barry

I thought the production was pretty purile, surely Mr Carson could have come up with something a little more elegant! However, for us the real let down of the evening was the quality of the singing especially from Ms Prina and Ms Frick. Mr Dantone is always wonderful...he can drag any band out of its mediocrity!

Music was sublime and the stage effects excellent and very amusing in place. However, in my opinion the product fell short of the usual standards. The role Rinaldo in particular I felt was mis-cast and however hard I tried I just couldn't get used to setting the production in a school.

I suspect this is a marmite production but I am the side of the people who totally disliked the production. I normally enjoy Handel operas and on this occasion I enjoyed the singing, especially Tim Mead, Orchestra and conducting first class and the music delightful. I thought the production was a total failure; have not seen the opera before and still no idea of the plot details and where the story is set which seems the very least I should expect from a production. Sad to say I will not book to see this production again and will wait for a more sympathetic approach from you or another company

Thoroughly enjoyed the performance despite the rude crits. After all the plot is ludicrous so why not make it enjoyable in contemporary terms.
It was across between Harry Potter, St. Trinians and Mary Poppins.We found the setting original and innovative particularly the transformation scenes and Miss Whiplash a schoolboy's wet dream. Particularly enjoyed the final football match.
The music is delightful and well played by the OAE. Most of the voices were excellent particularly Brenda Rae and Pisaroni.
Thought that Sonia Prima was not quite equipped for some of the more demanding passages.

My wife and I attended the performance on 17 August, and by the end we felt that there was both much to admire and almost as much to disappoint.

On the plus side, the orchestra'a playing was always thrilling, the set appeared to be well constructed, and the lighting pattern had meaning. We were greatly impressed by the performance of five out of the six singers, all of whom made full use of the da capo arias, even if at times not permitted to sing as slowly and thus as expressively as we would have wished.

Unfortunately we felt that Rinaldo herself was making less impact, even when alone, and was sometimes overshadowed by the other soloists. To us it is an opera that revolves around one lead, and we felt that this was not being achieved on stage. To illustrate what we mean, the performance highlight for us was the duet between Argante and Armida in Act III.

As for the production, it was certainly reminiscent of boarding school days, but in our view it lacked much in both style and subtlety, and encouraged only a trite involvement by the audience. Thus for us bits were memorable, for both the right and the wrong reasons, but not the whole.

I found the music and singing beautiful, although I would have prefered a counter tenor for Rinaldo. The staging was delightful - just right for such a fanciful story and left us relaxed from the laughter and uplifted by the music.

I've been visiting Glyndebourne for 55 years, but for me, Saturday was the worst performance ever.Surely the staging of an opera should help to tell the story, not detract fom it. It actually became difficult to relate the story to what was happening onstage. At times I had no idea which singer was singing to whom.
I enjoyed it more when I closed my eyes - but if I'd wanted a concert performance, I'd have gone to one (and paid a lot less money!)
And another thing - it must be regarded as a failure when the audience laughs at the production unintentionally - and this happened several times.(I remember a Pelleas et Melisande a few years ago when Melisande appeared stuck in a modern light fitting and we all fell about!)
However, I'll be watching out for this Robert Carson so that I never have the misfortune to waste good money on anything he ruins in future.
Christopher England

Hugely disappionting to me and my companions, even though forewarned by the reviews. Wonderful music and singing completely undermined by the absurd irrelevance of the production. How come, when Carsen is repsonisble for the stunning 'Poppea' and 'Fairy Queen'? As the reviewer in Opera Magazine says, "Who at Glyndebourne allowed this to pass"?

Jean and I thought this was a brilliant production. It was a coherent and imaginative attempt to deal with a storyline that has problems for a modern audience however you choose to direct it. I can understand some people's dislike, but those who condemned it for being set in a boarding school missed the whole point i.e. that it is set in the imagination of a teenage boy. What incensed me, though, was Jonathan Keates's review in Opera. How dare he dismiss me and many others as chapmagne-swilling people who only go to the opera to dress up and show off, and who have no appreciation of opera.

The singing and the music were most enjoyable, but the production was just plain silly. It must have been very expensive. What a total waste of money! No doubt it appealed to the 'groundlings'. I never want to see another production by this producer who should be banned from the opera house.

we were a party of 4 on 20 August -2 of us just loved it and thought it was extreemly clever and imaginative-the counter tenor was superb-
The performance was both amusing and interesting-the voices and music were wonderful. One of our party was totally bemused by it and the other loved it after the first act
we all thought Rinaldo should be taller!!

Four of us attended the performance on 20th August. Musically, this was excellent, there was some fine singing from virtually all the principals, and the playing of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was first class. The problem for me was the production. I could not see the point of setting 'Rinaldo' in a girl's college complete with pupils in gym slips, a somewhat sadistic Head Mistress etc. These days, one can certainly diversify productions to all kinds of settings. I can accept that Handel's operas do not have to be set 100% in the Baroque style - but flying bicycles? Please. I found this production totally inappropriate and furthermore, it tended to detract me from the full enjoyment of Handel's gorgeous score. I was prepared to sit it out however, for the sake of the music (possibly with my eyes closed). However, my companions, one of whom was my wife, were not and regrettably we left after the dinner interval. I intend to make up for what I missed by listening to Thursday's Prom.

I went on Saturday with my brother and sister-in-law. We were a little trepidatious as we had seen the negative reviews, but went with an open mind, knowing the music would be up to Glyndebourne's impeccable standards anyway.

I really can't understand why people have been so sniffy about it. The plot is ridiculous anyway, so why not do something fresh and amusing. It was an excellent entertainment with some great humour, while still being a fantastic musical production. We all felt it was a very enjoyable evening, and the cast and the audience obviously had a very good time.

Sorry to say this but Im with David Fowler 100% (comment - 11th August). Left after supper - first time in 26 years of coming to Glyndebourne.

Congratulations to the Glyndebourne website. The video clips and the podcast provided a helpful introduction to this strange production. As a result I was able to approach the opera in a positive frame of mind. However, the synopsis in the programme, with its opening comment that "the action is set during the first Crusade", did not convey the essence of the production concept which was surprising as it was apparently written by the Director. Still I left the theatre wreathed in smiles and hugely impressed by Handel's wonderful music.

Before we came to see Rinaldo last week I had seen some very mixed reviews and I had wondered how well the boarding school setting would work. On the whole the concept worked very well. (I don't think that the opera is really about the crusades, so it does lend itself easily to a different setting.)

Everyone sang well and, just as importantly, acted well. The OAE played magnificently.

Although not as wonderfully engaging as Guilio Ceasare, the whole production was entertaining and thoughtful. The scenes that worked best were the ones that were wonderfully silly; such as the football match.

I am looking forward to seeing the production again in October.

Finally, a few words of praise for the pre-performance recital given by members of the chorus in the new Ebert Room. All three had amazing voices and even in recital, became their characters.

Brian J Stevenson

Rinaldo, 20th August.
The music was as good as Haendel would have wanted it, and the staging as pleasant, unconventional and witty as one would expect from Glyndebourne. Too bad the lead role, Rinaldo, intended for a countertenor, was given to a voiceless contralto without much scene presence. Fortunately, Eustazio, Argante, Almirena and Armida brilliant performance made the evening a great enjoyment.

The ridulous setting was a distraction from the music.
I want to buy a CD as soon as possible so I can listen
without having to watch, for example, the singer changing
a tyre on his bike.

I had a marvellous evening! I loved the whole production. It was innovative, funny, serious, cleverly presented, superbly sung, exquisitively played and it just proves that opera does not have to be stuffy and boringly traditional. My biggest problem was to stop my husband from giggling at the sheer hilarity of the 'knights' going into battle dressed in gymslips and hockey sticks and then the 'Furies' looking real St Trinian treasures with their lacrosse sticks. Pure genius! Thank you.

We saw the production on the 10th. I have been going to Glyndebourne for many years and had the odd disappointment, but here what can I say, but that it was a splendid evenings entertainment - surely that is what opera should be all about. The OAE were superb, the singing delicious and the staging original. The libretto was known to be unsatisfying so why not put an original slant on it? As to adding humour? why God forbid ! All I can say is that I am glad that I am not invited to some peoples parties !!

I was lucky enough to see Rinaldo last night.
A stunning production and brilliant performance, completely delightful and in my opinion - which is shared by the group of friends who were with me - completely in fitting with Handel's intentions. The audience hung on every word and note, laughed and was also moved and there was a feeling of real delight. I read up about the opera a little bit before coming - and the music specialists seem to agree that this was the weakest libretto Handel ever had to set to music, probably because it was thrown together in 2 weeks! The production made a virtue of a the many dead ends and brought all facets together brilliantly. In fact it seemed to us as if a great deal of thought had gone into the show's conception. The battle at the end played as a football game with the globe of the world serving as ball seemed a timely reminder of the serious issues at stake inspite of the schoolboy fun (even if the opera itself doesn't really deal with the Crusades at all). I hope the show comes to Belgium so we can see it again!

Gosh, this has certainly polarised opinion! I'm with those who had a really good time with this (15/8). Moments of surrealism, humour, great beauty of music and singing, with very little to offset a positive feeling. The setting certainly didn't try to grapple with the nonsensical whimsy of the original baroque approach, and did create its own whimsical take on schoolboy fantasies. It was more than a little far-fetched, but it was all great fun. My last Glyndebourne was the beautiful-but-dull Cosi fan Tutte last year. In the dim light of that I wasn't sure about returning - but I'm certainly pleased I did.

After reading of the comments on the review page, we were slightly concerned that we would not enjoy Rinaldo as much as we usually enjoy the productions at Glyndebourne. However we were delightfully surprised. Although a liitle slow in the first Act, overall we thought the production was excellent, with some lovely comic touches. However we did feel that some of the singing was slightly underpowered.

This was FUN (15th August). Wit and humour throughout as we gazed through the eyes of an imaginative pupil at a world of intrigue, fervent and dangerous ideologies, intrigue and unforsaken love. The scene of the magical boat crewed by Almirenas was extremely amusing in an opera packed with flair and originality. The orchestra received thunderous praise from an appreciative audience, as did Argante and a very spirited Armida (brilliant). Here is something fresh to the stage - a witty production that does not detract from the essential love story. It may be a different form of pageantry and stagecraft, but it worked remarkably well.

We went to Glyndebourne today (15 Aug) with some concern having read some of the comments on here. We had no need to worry - a fantastic production, a great hit! I thought it better than Meistersinger (no disrespect to the wonderful Gerald Finley). Please, please bring this out on BluRay, I will be first in line to buy it!

Last Wednesday I attended the performance of Rinaldo with my wife and her goddaughter: we all greatly enjoyed the evening. The staging was extraordinary and full of visual surprises; the singing and acting were exceptional; and the orchestral playing was superb. Others have already commented on some of the musical delights offered by the singers. In contrast, I want to highlight an issue that has attracted little attention. Underpinning the laughter in the production, there seemed to me a clear political vision that held everything together. The crusaders (and their modern equivalents) were shown to be adolescent bullies: their Muslim opponents were seen to be sex-obsessed fanatics. In contrast to these blatant failures of culture and politics, the whole production asserted the primacy of artistic creativity. Throughout the evening, there was a succession of magic moments. Rowdy schoolboys morphed into crusading warriors and fought some of their battles in a school chemistry lab; burka-clad women were transformed into mini-skirted furies; the final battle between crusader bullies and Muslim furies was fought out on a school football pitch; and at the end Rinaldo returns to an empty classroom with a question on his face. Was this all a bad dream? Holding this fragmenting action together was the beauty and symmetry of Handel’s music. The action demonstrated only too clearly that ‘the sleep of reason produces monsters’. But the music, rising above the chaos of warfare and destructive passion, provided a juxtaposed vision of sublime order and creative harmony. The performance was the meaning, and it left me with a feeling of real elation.

I was dreading this because I'd just seen and hated MND at ENO which also had a 1950s school setting - but I loved Rinaldo once I'd worked out that the whole thing was one big laugh! And the singing and playing was phenomenal - fancy having to sing while putting together two bicycles - he did brilliantly. I thought the battle was hilarious and the footie match a hoot. So a great evening, but not exactly what we were expecting!

Oh Dear Oh Dear for the first time ever half way through the production I thought how much have I paid for this. We love Handel and the other Handel productions we have seen at Glyndebourne but this just detracted from the music. First time I have left feeling disappointed.Still felt the same next day and hoped when we listen to the prom it will revive our negative thoughts about the permormance

I enjoyed the production immensely. What can you do with a libretto like Rinaldo is stuck with, except send it up?
The scene - first on screen- then a real boat with schoolgirl/mermaids fitted the music perfectly and I found it extremely moving - even better 2nd time round. The villainess/witch was very well cast and I found all the singing better than average.
I hope the favourable comments are beating the 'dreadfuls'

Orchestra and singers were a joy. The setting was a bad joke. Handel deserves better than this.

After seeing Guilo Cesare twice I was really looking forward to Rinaldo. I was considerably disappointed. The sickly applause at the end of the evening on 10th Aug leads me to think many others felt the same.

did not enjoy the production at all - the music was wonderful of course - but the staging was disappointing to say the least and I left feeling it was certainly not worth the 2 hour drive!

I was kind of worried seeing the first scene (a classroom), wondering how it would relate to the subject of love and war many centuries ago. Especially since I came over from the Netherlands just to be there. But I was actually very pleasantly surprised. The role of Rinaldo could have been better sung with a taller singer and it was kind of strange that Almirena was taller than Rinaldo, but on the whole the ensemble performed well and I really enjoyed the performance. Especially the roles of the 'bad' couple. It was a worth the visit to Glyndeburne. The take on the classroom actually worked and there was humour in it, which is something not easily associated with Handel operas. Well done!

The libretto, full of sentiments of honour and virtue, whilst very appropriate in Handel's day now sounds really trite. But think of it as the musings of an adolescent, weedy and picked-upon schoolboy imagining himself as the hero Rinaldo then the production not just makes sense but is actually very clever and imaginative. Appreciate the context and see the humour and you will have a wonderful evening.

We thought Rinaldo was wonderful! The production was innovative, creative and original!

Congratulations! We look forward to the next season already.

Angela Wilson

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