Handel's Rodelinda
at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

Handel’s Rodelinda (1725) has always been one of his most famous operas, with much magnificent music. When it was performed in Gottingen in 1920, it marked the beginning of the Handel opera revival. The opera centers on the abandoned queen Rodelinda (whose defeated husband has fled and is presumed dead), and who is laid siege to by the usurping king. Her steadfastness in protecting herself and her young son—through tribulation and through six superior arias of contrasting emotional states—is rewarded when her husband returns and, after a procession of plot devices, regains his throne. All ends happily, with the double-dyed villain (not the usurping king, but his henchman) dead and the usurper repenting his misdeeds.

Nicola Haym’s libretto—essentially a string of ABA arias with one lovely duet...

 

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