Armonia Atenea – The Friends of Music Orchestra - George Petrou
by George Friderick Händel
Armonia Atenea - The Friends of Music Orchestra and George Petrou return to Athens Festival with the genre that has made them famous across the globe: 18th-century opera. With award-winning productions in theatres and festivals across Europe, they now embark on a new journey to the magical world of Baroque opera, preparing an impressive new production of Händel’s Alcina. In this endeavour they are joined by the famous Greek soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu, which won rave reviews for her portrayal of the title role in the Wiener Staatsoper, the Paris Opera and the Oper Stuttgart.
Alcina premiered in London in 1735 to great success and is considered the high-water mark of Händel’s career. Its brilliant music and high dramatic demands made it one of the most popular Baroque operas during the 20th century. Since then, Alcina has been presented at the greatest opera houses in the world.
The premise is as follows: the sorceress Alcina seduces any men unfortunate enough to wash up on her private island and then transforms them into animals. When the knight Ruggiero makes his appearance, Alcina discovers true love. However, Ruggiero’s betrothed, Bradamante, soon arrives at the island, determined to rescue him from the sorceress’ clutches.
The ever-restless and accomplished conductor George Petrou is internationally acclaimed as one of the most important 18th-century conductors, particularly of Händel productions, and recently took over as artistic director of the Göttingen International Handel Festival. Having already numerous productions as director under his belt, together with the set and costume designer Giorgina Germanou he has conceived a new take on Alcina, combining modern aspects with the extravagance of Baroque opera, conjuring a fairytale, magical world.