Orlando furioso
Teatro comunale di Ferrara

Orlando furioso

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Orlando furioso is set on the island of the evil enchantress Alcina. The knight hero Orlando is indeed furioso; the opera follows his story through various states - from madly in love, to just plain mad and through to his final recovery.  

To a libretto by Grazio Braccioli after the epic poem Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto from 1516, Vivaldi’s opera is a delightful mix of the pastoral, heroic and the comic. Braccioli classicized the dramatic treatment by observing unity of time, place and action. Inspired by this popular tale, Vivaldi wrote some of his best music for the stage with several notable arias like Orlando’s Nel profondo cieco mondo and several expressive monologues (recitatives are particularly prominent part of the dramatic experience). After last season’s Catone in UticaTeatro Comunale di Ferrara continues its exploration of the operas of Vivaldi with whom the city has a complicated history; the city’s archbishop effectively cancelled the staging of one of his operas in 1739, sending the famed Baroque composer into debt for his final years in exile. With the same creative team as for Catone, the production shared live on OperaVision features a cast with some of the finest baroque singers of the moment, including the title role for Yuriy Mynenko, who was most recently seen on our platform in Il Giustino from Drottningholm.


Yuriy Mynenko
Sonia Prina
Arianna Vendittelli
Loriana Castellano
Filippo Mineccia
Chiara Brunello
Mauro Borgioni
Orchestra Barocca Accademia dello Spirito Santo
Coro Accademia dello Spirito Santo
Antonio Vivaldi
Grazio Braccioli
Ludovico Ariosto
Federico Maria Sardelli
Marco Bellussi
Matteo Paoletti Franzato
Elisa Cobello
Marco Cazzola
Fabio Massimo Iaquone
Chorus Master
Francesco Pinamonti



Sneak peek at Orlando furioso

Vivaldi mixes the pastoral, heroic and comic on Alcina’s enchanted island.

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Behind the scenes

Introduction to Orlando furioso

Let's meet Marcello Corvino, Artistic Director of Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Ferrara, Conductor Federico Maria Sardelli and Director Marco Bellussi, to explore the history of Vivaldi's Orlando furioso and the creative process of this new production. The creative team takes us through the cultural heritage of the city of Ferrara.

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Angelica, pursued by Orlando, takes refuge in the palace of the sorceress Alcina and begs her to help her find her beloved Medoro. Alcina interrupts the confrontation between Astolfo and Orlando and tries to seduce him, but he confesses his love for Angelica; the sorceress reveals that the woman is with her and invites him to stay. Astolfo then reveals Alcina's true identity to Orlando, regretting her reluctance to accept him. Bradamante then arrives in disguise, looking for her bridegroom, Ruggiero. Angelica rescues Medoro from the perils of the stormy sea and Alcina tends to his wounds. Orlando bursts in and, blinded by jealousy, tries to kill Medoro, but Alcina makes him believe he is Angelica's brother. Ruggiero lands in Alcina's garden on a winged horse and falls under the sorceress's spell, bewitched by her charms; Bradamante accuses him of treachery, but the knight does not recognise her, a victim of the spell.


Alcina is alone with Astolfo, who loves her unrequitedly. Left alone, the knight is reproached by Bradamante for his weakness towards the enchantress. The knight then gives Ruggiero the ring he received as a pledge: the spell is lifted and he recognises his beloved, who nevertheless refuses to forgive him and urges him to use the amulet to discover Alcina's true identity. Angelica courts Orlando with the sole intention of getting rid of him by causing his death through deception. Flattered, the paladin agrees to challenge the wild beast to guard the vase containing the water of eternal youth; thrilled by the challenge, he summons the monster, only to find himself Alcina's prisoner in a cave with no way out. Embittered by Angelica's betrayal, Orlando manages to escape. Meanwhile, Bradamante and Ruggiero meet and reconcile. Angelica and Medoro are married with Alcina's blessing, Orlando then arrives and, having discovered the marriage, falls into deep despair.


Astolfo, believing Orlando to be dead, proposes to Ruggiero that he give him a decent burial, and at the same time take revenge for Alcina's refusal. Ruggiero is joined by Bradamante, disguised as a knight, and Alcina is angered by Ruggiero's indifference. She then summons the spirit of the magician Merlin and orders the steel walls of Hecate's temple to open. Orlando enters, delirious and in the grip of madness; he mistakes Merlin's statue for Angelica and, to free her, kills the guardian Aronte. He embraces the statue and lifts it up, causing a terrible earthquake that causes the temple to collapse. The spell is broken, the island appears deserted and Alcina, desperate and deprived of her powers, tries to kill Orlando, who is exhausted by fatigue; Ruggiero and Bradamante stop her in time. Astolfo, accompanied by a soldier, carries a burning torch: it is ‘the lost light of Orlando's spirit’; the knights awaken the paladin who, on seeing the flame, regains his reason; he then forgives Angelica and blesses her union with Medoro.