Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759)


Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759)

Opera in three acts to a libretto by Carlo Sigismondo Capece, inspired by Ariosto’s Orlando furioso, first performed on 27 January 1733 at the King’s Theatre in London.

Dramma giocoso in two acts to a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, first performed on 26 January 1790 at the Burgtheater in Vienna.


New production Théâtre du Châtelet – Coproduction Théâtre de Caen, Grand Théâtre du Luxembourg, Opéra National de Lorraine


Staging : Jeanne Desoubeaux
Set design : Cécile Trémolières
Costumes : Alex Costantino
Lighting : Thomas Coux dit Castille
Choreography: Rodolphe Fouillot


Katarina Bradić : Orlando
Siobhan Stagg : Angelica
Elizabeth DeShong : Medoro
Giulia Semenzato : Dorinda
Riccardo Novaro : Zoroastro

Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset, direction & harpsichord

“This fabulous opera tells the epic tale of Roland furieux of Roncevaux, taken from the Italian poet L’Arioste (1474-1533). Roland’s madness at discovering the infidelity of his Angelique, who has gone off with his rival Medoro, is masterfully sung by contralto singer Katarina Bradić. Despair and madness are the two hallmarks of this scene. Here Händel breaks new ground, moving from recitative to arioso in a different style, a musical form that is obviously very surprising and notable in this opera.
While I’m very familiar with Siobhan Stagg’s talent, having worked with her in the past, I’m looking forward to working with Riccardo Novaro and Giulia Semenzato, two Italian singers I’ve had my eye on for many years.
Moreover, I often prefer a female voice over a falsetto voice, and Orlando is a model of the genre insofar as the role of Medoro at the time of the premiere was given to a castrato who himself, having called in sick for the premiere, was replaced by a woman. Händel would therefore probably have chosen a female voice rather than a falsettist in the absence of a castrato.
Orlando is an opera that I haven’t yet had the chance to tackle. Despite our large body of Händel operas, this particular piece was biding its time. We often flirt around pieces before the opportunity to play them arises.
I’m also delighted to be working with Jeanne Desoubeaux for the first time. She has her own distinctive genius and has the added advantage of being a harpsichordist. She has a sensitivity to this music and this Baroque repertoire. Her staging opens with a group of children visiting a museum, and is bound to magically transport the audience all the way from the past to the present…”

– Christophe Rousset