Orlando Paladino at Drottningholm – synopsis
Composer and librettist
Music: Joseph Haydn. Words:Nunziano Porta is based on another libretto, Le pazzie d’Orlando, by Carlo Francesco Badini (by P.A. Guglielmi from 1771),which is inspired by Ariosto’s epical tale Orlando furioso.First performance: 6 of December 1762
Seen the première at Drottningholms Royal Theatre on 29 of July 2012
The uneventful existence of the shepherdess Eurilla and her father Licone is interrupted by the appearance of a threatening knight, searching for Angelica and Medoro. The knight reveals himself as Rodomonte, infatuated with Angelica and intent on protecting her from Orlando’s jealousy. Angelica summons the fairy Alcina, who offers her protection. Medoro enters with the unwelcome news that Orlando and his squire Pasquale have been sighted nearby. Medoro is unsure whether to stay or escape.
Rodomonte chances upon Pasquale. A duel is prevented by Eurilla, arriving with the news that Orlando is looking for Rodomonte. Pasquale, remaining behind with Eurilla, arouses her sympathy by describing his lot as Orlando’s squire. Medoro swears his fidelity to Angelica. Despite her protests he suggests that for her own safety he should leave her for a time. Angelica laments her situation.
Orlando appears, driven mad by seeing the names of Angelica and Medoro carved in stone. Rodomonte, still in pursuit of Orlando, narrowly misses him. Orlando questions Eurilla on the whereabouts of Medoro. Angelica’s fearful premonitions are interrupted by Pasquale and Eurilla, who warn her of Orlando’s approach. Rodomonte joins them, still eager to fight Orlando. The peace-loving Medoro, in fear of Orlando’s prowess, enters. Alcina appears and reassures the lovers, while warning Rodomonte that he cannot defeat Orlando. Orlando bursts in raving, but Alcina magically immobilises him and imprisons him in an iron cage.
Rodomonte is once more about to attack Orlando, who dashes off in pursuit of Angelica. Medoro seeks refuge by the sea, and at Eurilla’s suggestion, conceals himself in a grotto, asking her to tell Angelica of his unhappy fate. Eurilla and Pasquale discover their love for one another. Angelica arrives at the painful conclusion that Medoro has died. In her despair, she prepares to throw herself into the sea from a cliff, but Alcina’s magic powers transport her into Medoro’s arms. Angelica and Medoro flee from the raging Orlando, who is detained by a three-headed monster.
Pasquale and Eurilla exchange endearments. Orlando and Pasquale arrive in search of Alcina, and the Paladin furiously insults the fairy for protecting Medoro. She responds by turning him to stone. Angelica, Medoro, Eurilla and Rodomonte enter, marvelling at this sight. Alcina restores Orlando to his human state, but his frenzy is unabated. When he seeks revenge, a rock closes in behind him.
Charon watches over the sleeping Orlando. Alcina commands him to wash away Orlando’s madness with water from the river of forgerfulness. Orlando wakens confused and seeks his squire’s aid. Medoro rushes to the assistance of Angelica, who is pursued by wild animals. Rodomonte and Orlando, now comrades, fight the animals, thus bringing an end to suffering and confusion. Angelica and Medoro can now love one another without fear, Pasquale and Eurilla are united, and Orlando may go in search of fresh deeds of valour.