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

Having seen all the recent Glyndebourne Handel revivals and those at the ENO I felt this Rinaldo lacked the exceptional singing to be memorable.
Orchestra outstanding, sets and costumes interesting but none of the singers were outstanding as in previous operas.

At last night's Rinaldo, my wife and I walked out for the first time ever, after the second interval. The orchestra were excellent, the counter-tenor superb but the rest of the cast simmpy adequate; this all within an appalling, nonsensical production. We didn't come to see a cross between Pantomime and St Trinians. We have a right to expect better from Glyndebourne.

We enjoy traditional productions a lot but my family enjoyed this modern production enormously. I'm fascinated by how polarised opinions of it are. The only DVD I can find of Rinaldo is of Munich 2001 which, while good musically, is not nearly as good as the Glyndebourne production and certainly doesn't take the story at all seriously. Can anyone who dislikes the Robert Carsen production suggest a DVD or Youtube video of one they do like? I really want to know. I hope Glyndebourne produce a DVD of this production.

Three cheers to Robert Carsen for making a logical and entertaining fantasy out of the third rate one Handel used to hang his music on.

I found the ridiculous setting a distraction. I shall buy a CD as soon as possible so I do not have to watch a singer changing
a tyre on his bike - a procedure which was so familiar to me
when a child cyclist that I found myself watching instead of
listening! No doubt I am to blame for this but when the singer,
as usually the case, just sings, it is easier for me to concentrate.

Judging by the extremes of opinion expressed here: a thoroughly successful production.... Congratulations!

Please may we hear much more of VARDUHI ABRAHAMYAN. Our group of musicians felt she was the star of the evening: regal, dignified presence [despite the tone of the production]; sensitive, compelling performance; beautiful singing.

More Handel too, please - and no, nothing can ever compete with David McVicar's 'Giulio Cesare', with the unsurpassable Sarah Connolly and Daniele De Niese...

I felt so sad for the singers (all of them above adequate and a couple excellent) and the wonderful orchestra to have to present one of the worst, gimmicky productions of any opera I have seen, certainly at Glyndebourne. If I want to see a second-rate pantomime I will book one. I am not against innovation (I loved Rusalka and Don Giovanni) , but I am against perverse 'director's opera'. I will not book any new productions at Glyndebourne again in future but wait until a year or two afterwards when we can see what to expect.

It was the first time we had seen this opera but, having hugely enjoyed Juilio Cesare, we were looking forward to it. Sadly we have to join those who found the production rather silly and unilluminating. It was redeemed by the music and much of the singing although, again like others, we thought Rinaldo was mis-cast.

We saw Rinaldo on Monday 1st August. A truly unforgettable night there was a landslide on to the railway lines at Croydon(reminiscent of the Railway Children) that caused some performers and audience to be delayed and meant that their homeward journey was perhaps fraught, BUT despite this the performance was truly inspiring. The inspired, energetic and memorable interpretation of the work was indeed most enoyable and refreshing. Thank you Glyndebourne. We heard from one of your helpers that earlier in the season Rinaldo had been booed at by the audience. What a pity that enthusiasts can't expand their repetoire. Our party were all ages and all opera lovers.

The music was wonderful, and the stage management was excellent. Armida was magnificent in Vo' far guerra. But the production was a travesty. I have never seen Handel's Rinaldo.

Absolutely fantastic. We looking forward to the next season.

Everyone agrees that the music of Rinaldo is sublime but some seem to think the content is outlandish and deserves to be treated so. I believe the content is magical and deserves to be treated so. This production is not only ludicrously incongruous but also constitutes an insult to the music. Sonya Prina is weak both musically and in terms of stage presence. On the positive side the orchestra and Tim Mead are superb Unfortunately, the ridiculous production is all-pervasive.

while musically superb, we found this a very confusing production. With so many mezzos and countertenors, all of them about the same height, and all dressed in grey, most of the time we couldn't tell who was singing (we were sitting in the Upper Circle and we are all old opera 'hands'.) Thank goodness for Argantes' height! In the current political climate, Rinaldo is obviously a difficult opera to stage, but this production did little to bring it into the mainstream repetoire, tho' musically it deserves to be.

Yes indeed, not the production was a disappointment, it was better than average, but most of the cast was a little underwhelmed. This was not always first class singing, as we are entitled to expect at Glyndebourne...

We thoroughlly enjoyed both the music and the idea behind the production. It was very adventurous, but thank God someone is prepared to try something new now and then. The orchestra and singers were so beautifully directed by Ottavio Dantone producing passion and humour within the 26 year old's amazing score. We felt the evening was as alive as it may have been for the first audiences in the Haymarket.

Our party (a lady(85), a gent(me)(69), and a lady(56)) enjoyed this production tremendously. It's our 5th Glyndebourne, and only Tristan (2009) has surpassed it. We sat near the orchestra pit, which bubbled and sizzled like a cauldron - superb work, OAE! The fun on stage got wilder and wilder, while the singing and music were fabulous from start to finish.
More like this, please, Glyndebourne!
And fiddlesticks to the nay-sayers!

I found the ridiculous setting a distraction from the music
and shall buy a CD so I can avoid watching a singer changing a
tyre on his bike - something I often did many years ago - so I
found myself watching instead of listening. It may be wonder
how much of his applause was for his tyre efforts.

Went last week and thought it one of the most enjoyable visits I've ever made to Glyndebourne. I take the point in other comments about the "modernity" of the production.In fact I generally steer well clear of these - Mozart on a space-ship is not really my cup of tea. But this I really enjoyed. The music and the singing were, as I had expected, first class. The production had its peculiarities which at first disturbed me a little, but I was won over by the cleverness, artistry and above all the good humour of the entire thing. Full marks - my wife and I enjoyed every minute.

Theodora,Rodelinda and Guilio Cesare;three productions of the last decade or so that made Glyndebourne the leading house in the world for Handel. Think of those casts: Daniels,Scholl, Antonacci, Upshaw, the late great Lorraine Hunt,Connolly,de Neisse. Rinaldo's cast did not quite come up to that supreme standard I fear. I liked Carsen's production; this is a musically divine piece but it is also utter tosh,so inside a feverish adolescent schcoolboy's head was a good place for it, and the concept was immaculately realised.OAE were sublime. We enjoyed it,but unlike after those three we did not drive home extatic.

It was our first visit to Glyndebourne with some great friends the whole experience was thrilling made all that much better by such brilliant singing and music that made Rinaldo an experience to treasure for a long time.We cant wait to come back for more

Saw Rinaldo on 7th July and loved it - both in terms of the music (great playing and singing) and production

Disappointing comments from those who disliked the production which seemed generally to fundamentally miss the point.

How can one present this opera? It is supposedly set in the crusades but clearly has nothing actually to do with the crusades. My history may be hazy but I do not remember a scorcerers who change in an instant from hate to love (and back again!

It seems to me this opera is about heroes and villains, deeds of derring-do and exagerated passions which alter in an instant but are held with equal sincerity. To me that sounds that sounds just like teenagers and so what better context in which to stage the opera than a school setting? We thought it worked perfectly. What was meant to be moving or poignant was indeed so through the prism of adolescence. What was comic and slightly absurd equally was as well - just like teenagers.

An attemt to stage the opera "straight" would, I fear, have been unbelievable and posible risible. What was clever about Carsen's production was that by choosing to be unrealistic he actually hightened the realism and emotion.

And to not enjoy the final playground battle really does suggest a serious humour deficiency. Come on lighten up!

Congratulations

Four of us attended Rinaldo on 5 August - I have been a member 30 plus years - so I've seen all the triumphs and disasters. My guests were a mix of junior-senior. We all thought it was a great evening. Possibly Sarah Connolly in the lead role could have given a bit more swagger and a bigger voice - how about that for the re-run? In mitigation Rinaldo's diction was excellent and the replacement Almirena fine. The sorceress was a terrific modern day harridan and the red haired counter tenor has a most beautiful voice. The whole concept made you think and what is opera for if not for that? I think Handel himself would have enjoyed this. OAE was just tremendous - the trumpet and woodwind solos beautiful - what luck we have them each year at Glyndebourne to enchant us with their beautiful playing. True stars!

I was absolutely delighted with this production of Rinaldo. Given that it could be a rather heavy, somewhat irrelevant and tangled storyline for a modern audience, this was a witty and unusual take. The cast proved themselves more than capable of combining a demanding operatic role with acting ability and superb comic timing. The stage set was cleverly put together and the scene changes flawless. For all the negative comments posted above, I have rarely seen an audience more noisily appreciative of a production. Thank you to cast, producers and Glyndebourne generally for delivering such a gem!

I came to see Rinaldo on 7th August in a party of 5. We are knowledgeable opera-goers, ranging in age from mid-40s to mid-70s, with varying tastes in style and music. We found the production dreadful, the singing very mixed quality, the music played beautifully. I've waited 9 months to see this production having seen some amazing Handel productions here. But oh dear this was such a let down. Our tickets cost £700 and we left Glyndebourne tonight feeling for the first time ever that we had not had value for money. Like many reviewers I will be checking director names before I book next year.

Four of us (one a professional musician) came to Rinaldo on Monday 1st, somewhat apprehensive after reading all these comments, but we all had a magical experience. We thought the production very amusing and imaginative - a highly intelligent approach to presenting an opera about the first crusade in 2011! Singing was superb and the playing, including the marvellous harpsichord solos from the conductor and the beautiful oboe playing made the whole evening terrific. To anyone reading the negative comments, DON'T BE PUT OFF!

We attended the 5 Aug performance. It was supposed to be a birthday treat for my wife but turned out to be our last visit to Glyndebourne. As it doesn't seem possible to know how the production will manifest before booking, I can't risk being so shamefully treated again. Most of your audience understands that great music has the power to lift the soul into sublime realms. It seems deliberately perverse to pander to the basest human instincts and so destroy this effect. I can go elsewhere for cheap thrills. Where will I now go for aesthetic fulfilment? Certainly not Glyndebourne. Great shame.

Though not an admirer of modern productions generally - too often they confuse by introducing irrelevant concepts - I thought this was very successful. The story is trivial and static. In this case the production created an entertaining overlay which did not strike a false note. I am afraid the hostile critics just did not 'get it'. They are right however to praise the singing, and the playing we expect from the OAE.

I've not yet seen the current production of Rinaldo (will do so on 22 Aug) but am looking forward to something 'a bit different'. I can't understand why some people have made comments here about the production not being what they expected (someone talked about wanting red velvet drapery or something and 'barogue grandeuer' has been mentioned). Why haven't they made an effort to read up about the production before attending and tried to understand the interpretation? There have been plenty of newspaper/magazine reviews, not to mention all the comments here. What's the point of attending an event 'blind' and just expecting all your.. er.. expectations.. to be fulfilled. One of the best things I've seen at Glyndebourne was Handel's Theodora some years ago. The story was set in the early 4th century Antioch but it was a (post?)modern production with chaps in business suits and the hero and heroine being put to death by lethal injection in orange 'Guantanamo' suits. The singing, (the now well known) countertenor David Daniels et al, was sublime, and the whole thing was an uplifting and stimulating experience.

This was a surreal production (01 Aug) that got better and better with a rousing 3rd Act. I detected influences of El Cid, Harry Potter, St Trinians, Mary Poppins and West Side Story in the production but in the end Handel just about won through. A brave production but again we left Glyndebourne elated and entertained. Thank you.

I though the voices and music were fine except for Sonia Prina and Varduhi Abrahamyan who were weak. The production was daft. As a consequence the first act was dire but things improved musically for the second and third acts with some fine singing. I liked Julio Cesare so I am not opposed to some attempt to make Handel a little more exciting. However, I did keep on thinking how unlucky the audience of Handel's time was in missing opera from Mozart onwards!

We enjoyed the evening enormously. The libretto of Handel's operas are mostly convoluted and often rather silly. Why try to expect depth and serious meaning in a work which is carried entirely by the sublime music. It was very courageous of the producer to disentangle the whole story and give us a production which made us think back of it with a smile.

Great music quite out of synch with the corny production.
Sadly the "Rinaldo" was underpowered and did nothing to project
the character. "Almarinea"-replacing poor Sandrine Piau, was
excellent. The final football match scene was an embarrasment-
I squirmed when they squealed "Rinaldo" but clearly many in
the audience loved the oblique reference to Christiano Ronaldo.
Why add to Handel's perfect work the shouting of a crowd?

When one pays £'s for a great night out at G, it is a pity one
has no idea as to whether the production will be traditional,
novel yet arresting (like the superb Julius Caesar of McVicar,
or just plain dreadful as was Carsen's Rinaldo.

Having seen reviews in The Times and The Spectator I wondered whether I had made a bad choice, since I was taking two granddaughters, aged 18 and 16, and hoped to give them an experience of baroque grandeur. The first act seemed to confirm my misgivings, but by the final act - after we had eaten and taken a little wine - we yielded to all the nonsense and enjoyed it. But I do wish that the big programme gave some indication of the sort of production we might expect. I have several times been terribly disappointed - that notorious Don Giovanni, the Idomeneo, and especially the misconceived Bach St Matthew Passion ... By now eight of my nine grandchildren have been introduced to opera at Glyndebourne. And it can be such a WONDERFUL experience at its best!

B

Weird. I'm not an expert on opera and had expected something about the liberation of Jerusalem. Nothing in the synopsis nor in the programme did anything to explain why such an interpretation had been chosen - surely for 15 quid we might get a tiny insight into the reasoning behind the choice of such a staging. As it was I learnt more about the interpretation from talking to one of the security staff in the interval than I did from the programme.

Whilst not on the same level of entertainment as Giulio Cesare, there was much to enjoy in the singing of this production. I thought the first act was the least enjoyable part of the opera, the second and third acts carried more of a punch. The production has certainly split the reviewers on here; personally I found it just a bit hard to accept, but acknowledge that Glyndebourne does need sometimes to be progressive. I am returning for a second viewing later this month, so I will see if my opinion changes.

ANONYMOUS PLEASE - After an enchanting evening at l'Elisir earlier in the month - quite the best that one of our guests had ever experienced and now her favourite opera (we all felt much the same), Rinaldo was a very big comedown. We found the production quite out of alignment with the beautiful music, and a real distraction. We were surprised that there wasn't a mass walk-out at the first interval. It did improve later - perhaps we were by then accustomed to being patronised - but we came away having enjoyed the Glyndebourne experience despite the trivialising of Handel - what a pity! A waste of a wonderful orchestra and some delightful singing. We shall watch out for who's doing what more carefully in the future. But thank you for a lovely evening in a beautiful setting.

Visiting Glyndebourne is always a special occasion and performances in previous years haven't failed to thrill. However, Rinaldo was depressing and disappointing. Two things would have made a difference: employing anyone other than Robert Carsen and giving Tim Mead the role of Rinaldo. I felt the production was patronising and the singing of most of the cast was underwhelming. I don't want a conventional production -I like to come away from Glyndebourne having been challenged by fresh thinking, but Rinaldo was a waste of time and effort.

I was a bit worried about this production, having read the reviews, and after a rather dull first act, for me it picked up in the second and third acts. (My companion loathed the whole thing.) Thinking about it now, I rather like the conceit of having Rinaldo ponder an exam question and wonder what the conflict would have be like if his school chums and master and mistress were involved in the action. There was plenty of humour – the ET reference at the end of Act One, the cross dressing transformation, and, towards the end the fireworks scene was great fun. Musically it was on a pretty high level – although I did think that Sonia Prina and Brenda Rae were a bit underpowered at times. Annett Fritsch, Luca Pisaroni and Tim Mead were outstanding, and perhaps Tim Mead should have been singing Rinaldo. Maybe Mr Carsen should have renamed the opera “Ronald” who could then have as his chums Eustace and Godfrey. I much preferred “Rinaldo” to the last Carsen production – “Poppea” which committed the cardinal sin of being terribly dull, with yards and yards of red velvet.

I gather that David Mellor railed against “Rinaldo” in his review of the opera. I did not read it, but did have the experience of sitting behind him at Grange Park’s production of “Norma” a few years back – THAT had Norma and Adalgisa in cardigans drinking cups of tea in a 1950s kitchen at one point. Mr Mellor slept through much of it.

Great singing, conducting and playing.
A very undemonstrative audience (Friday 29th) - it really helps the singers and raises the performance when they get some applause; too many uncomprehending 'corporate' attenders?
The production was 'fun' if not at all magical - it seemed somewhat disrespectful of both Handel and Tasso.

What is the point of putting on a production which mocks the feelings expressed in the music? This was the worst thing I have seen at Glyndebourne the whole production was on a par with the "smiley" on the curatin in Macbeth. The other production I saw this year Don Giovanni was brilliant - and I loved Carsten's Poppea. Possibly the Director was scared in 2011 to treat seriously an opera which dealt with conflict between the Moslems and the Christians so he had to make a joke of it.

I agree totally with the comments made on the 13th July "wonderful music, exquisitely performed".

What a waste of talent on such an empty production. Does the producer feel that the music needs this tawdry pantomine to keep the audience awake ? If so he is totally mistaken.

I do hope Glynedbourne is not following the path of ENO in this repertoire and forgetting the Opera Seria is ultimately serious. Its reaching the stage where you look to see the producer's name instead of that of the opera or singers before committing to spending a lot of money

Saw this production last and think it was one of the most imaginative and entertaining operas I have ever entertained.

Handel, if done straight, can drag terribly but this production flows with such ease. The cast were all very solid, if not overly spectacular, but the direction was fantastic. So inventive and relatable, with some fantastic set pieces.

I am of the tender of 19, so some might say I am too young to truly appreciate opera, but I am currently studying at Birmingham Conservatoire so my knowledge of music is not lacking. But it wasn't just down to my age making the production appealing, my mother of over 60 enjoyed it,as did the rest of our group whom were all over 60.

It was a joy to see such an inventive production and is exactly what needs to be done to keep opera feeling fresh in the modern age.

I've attended the 13th July performance.
I was wery excited about both Rinaldo and Carsen (who is my favourite director).
The Orchestra, the Conductor and all the voices were all very good, very high level. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the "mise en scene" and the costumes. Awful!
In my opinion Carsen didn't like this opera, or he didn't understand it. There was no magic at all!
I couldn't believe what I was looking at: Rinaldo with a college uniform! What a school has to do with Rinaldo?!Neverthless, he should like the "Opera Barocca". He made a wonderful Alcina, so elegant, and the fantastic Incoronazione di Poppea 4 years ago!
I don't agree with the spectator who says that this performance is not up to Glyndebourne level, I think it has been made with great care, but simply it was wrong!
What a shame!

As lovers of Handel opera, we approached this production with trepidation having read the reviews. However, we were pleasantly surprised. The production was clever and witty and fitted a far fetched story. After a rather slow first act, the whole thing took off wonderfully both musically and visually. Some lovely singing, and also playing from the OAE, magically brought to life at the hands of the conductor Ottavio Dantone

I felt embarrassed about having to ask friends to come from abroad to make a night of it on the 13th of July.
Rinaldo's entrance was a herald of things to come, physically ill suited to the part and a voice that couldn't quite deliver the intensity and volume.
It is a shame to have to close one's eyes to enjoy the opera especially for the 1st act.
I'm sorry to say that the sublime and divine music was totally compromised by Carsen's take on the popular Harry Potter movies.

I fundamentally disagree with the neysayers and indeed the disgraceful Mellor review in the MoS. Myself and the others I was with left with a spring in our step. As we do not go to the opera other than GB we were entranced and not left feeling that we were watching others left overs.

Power to your elbow and we loved the podcast as well. Great weekend.

Gorgeous and inspired; the school setting was just the first of many strokes of genius. We had opera newcomers alongside opera experts in our party, and all were quite moved by this wonderful refreshing staging.

I am amazed and disappointed to see the number of negative comments about this production of Rinaldo which I saw on 21 July. I had the advantage of having seen the production videos on the Glyndebourne website so knew what to expect and why. I thought the treatment of a questionable plot was fantastic and well up to Glyndebourne's exacting standards. I thought Rinaldo himself(herself) did not sing (or act) particularly well but everyone else did, especially Tim Mead whom we had previously been lucky enough to see when he took over the title role in Giulio Cesare. That is a rare talent whom I am looking forward to seeing in other, bigger roles in his own right.

On a different note, I saw and enjoyed Meistersinger at the Gate cinema and am seeing Giovanni there on Sunday. This latter because I caught part of the broadcast at Christmas and so loathed the set (but the singing was divine) that I was glad that I had saved my money. However, I do want to give the whole production a chance.

So many strong opinions! I enjoyed Rinaldo not only for the outstanding playing of the OAE and for the excellent cast but also for the witty and inventive production. Please give us more of both Carsen and McVicar in future seasons. Glyndebourne needs a future audience as well as a present one; this production will, I am sure, help in this regard. Well done Glyndebourne on two brilliant new productions this year. I do agree with others, though, that some guidance on production style in the advance literature would be helpful.

We greatly enjoyed the music and the singing. The production was rather silly and we were not sorry that we had restricted view seats.

The musical standards were as usual high but this was one of the worst productions I have ever seen at Glyndebourne. Carsen's Poppaea was bad enough but having seen this, I will avoid this man's work wherever I come across it. Like Poppaea, it was impossible here to engage emotionally with the characters. After Theodora, Rodelinda and Guilio Cesare. all in their different ways revelatory productions of Handel, this seemed a tired re-working of jokey ideas from the 1980s by somebody with no real commitment to the opera in question.

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