Sunday, March 24, 2013 — 6pm
in italian with english surtitles
Intense. Virtuosic. Tragic.
A Canadian Premiere.
Armida is an infrequently performed tour-de-force by renowned Italian composer, Rossini. Regarded as his most demanding piece, this bel canto opera is fuelled by passion and showcases vocal acrobatics with spitfire intensity.
Armida follows a bewitching sorceress as she attempts to weaken Christian soldiers only to fall in love with their leader, Rinaldo. While the lovers escape to a secret paradise, their romance is short-lived and ends in a fiery vengeance.
Michael Rose, Music Director and Pianist
Robert Cooper, Chorus Director
Guillermo Silva-Marin, Dramatic Advisor
Raphaelle Paquette as Armida
Edgar Ernesto Ramírez as Rinaldo
Christopher Mayell as Goffredo
Michael Ciufo as Genardo
Marco Petracchi as Idraote
Gregory Finney as Istarotte
Armida the Sorceress, is princess of Damascus and comes to the French crusaders' camp outside
Jerusalem, ostensibly to ask their aid against an "usurper" who is actually her uncle and accomplice
Idraote. A guise to weaken the Christian forces, she finds there Rinaldo, whom she's loved in secret
since their first meeting. Gernando boastfully taunts Rinaldo concerning which of them will succeed
their recently dead leader, Dudone. Rinaldo angrily kills Gernando and is spirited to safety by Armida.
On Armida's enchanted island the chief spirit Astarotte proclaim her magic powers and true intentions. Armida and Rinaldo, arriving in a dragon-borne chariot, declare their love. Nymphs and spirits sing and
dance, exalting love's reign.
Carlo and Ubaldo, sent to announce Goffredo's pardon and retrieve Rinaldo, wander into Armida's
enchanted garden, where a chorus of nymphs attempt to seduce them. Rinaldo enters with Armida;
and while alone, the knights recall him to his duty. He swings back and forth; Armida beseeches him
to stay with her; but ultimately he goes with the Soldiers. The desolate Armida, torn between love for
Rinaldo and a desire for revenge, calls on her demons to destroy the island. She is then carried off amid
flame and smoke on her dragon chariot.