Handel’s operas are now so thoroughly a part of modern musical life that you might think every major opera house welcomes them. But until November 2010, when it introduced an absorbing new production of Alcina, the Vienna Staatsoper resisted them, not having done a Baroque opera since Monteverdi’s Poppea in the 1960s.
The present production boasted an all-star cast of Baroque specialists, a former director of the Royal Shakespeare Company – Adrian Noble, the highly-acclaimed conductor Marc Minkowski and his Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble in the pit. Adrian Noble places his Alcina into a framework which begins in the magnifi cent ballroom of the Devonshire-House in London Piccadilly. The legendary Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, stages a play in which she is acting together with her friends, a stage on the stage.
Alcina is a great musical experience geared to the Baroque curiosity. Marc Minkowski revives Handel’s music in an outstanding way.