by Mike Telin
This article was originally published in the Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com
“Fantasy and opera go hand-in-hand really well,” CIM Opera Theater interim director JJ Hudson said during a telephone call. And when it comes to fantasy, the Cleveland Institute of Music’s upcoming production of George Frederick Handel’s Alcina is all about fantasy. “We’re not downplaying the various reversals of fortune via magic — that’s part of the fun, and we want this show to be fun,” says Hudson.
Still, Hudson does think the opera’s plot is a little bizarre. The story takes place on a magical island belonging to the sorceress Alcina, who seduces every man who comes along, only to turn them into rocks or wild animals once she’s grown tired of their company.
Her most recent victim is the knight Ruggiero, which causes his fiancée Bradamante and her guardian Melisso to follow him to the island. Disguised as a man named Ricciardo, she attempts to free Ruggiero with the help of a magic ring. The plan goes astray when Alcina’s sister Morgana becomes smitten with Ricciardo and dumps her lover Oronte. [Read more…]