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Handel – Ariodante


Opera in staged version
  • Sunday October 2023
  • Royal Opera
  • 3pm | 2h50 with intermission
Accueil Handel – Ariodante 2023


  • Lea Desandre* Ariodante
  • Ana Maria Labin Ginevra
  • Hugh Cutting* Polinesso
  • Krešimir Špicer Lurcanio
  • Moritz Kallenberg* Odoardo
  • Renato Dolcini* Il Re Di Scozia
  • *Winners of the Jardin des Voix, Académie Internationale des Arts Florissants pour jeunes chanteurs baroques
  • Les Arts Florissants
  • William Christie Conductor
  • Nicolas Briançon Stage director
  • Valéry Faidherbe Videographer
  • Jean-Pascal Pracht Lighting designer


Considered Handel’s most perfect opera, Ariodante features some of the most iconic arias in the baroque repertoire.   Yet it was only in 2018 that William Christie and Les Arts Florissants first performed this pristine masterpiece, which they revisit here for a new, youthful production.


Inspired by Arioste’s Orlando furioso, the libretto transports us to medieval Scotland, where the love between the knight Ariodante and Ginevra is thwarted by the dark scheming of Polinesso. But a final twist will save the hero from despair and blindness, in an unexpected happy ending…

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“Limits and freedom” – these are the two criteria that motivate William Christie to restore eloquence and vitality to this work written with particular care by Handel. The composer had to gain the recognition of the London public, in spite of the rivalry of a new company which had taken his star performers… This care given to the vocal parts – with great arias of extreme difficulty – was matched by that given to the orchestra, whose virtuosity dazzled the audience. In the absence of real indications on the score, as was common at the time, William Christie once again stands as a visionary historian and painter of emotions, engaging the singers and instrumentalists of Les Arts Florissants in a palette of colours rich with effect and meaning. The audience of 2018 will remember the compelling beauty of this work; those who attend in 2023 will discover an even more vibrant masterpiece.


For this new production, William Christie reunites with one of his young protégés, the mezzo-soprano Lea Desandren, now a star in her own right. Though she has often performed the greatest arias of the title role in concert, this is the first time she will sing the complete opera in a version directed by Nicolas Briançon, who is well accustomed to the stages of Paris. She will be joined by soprano Ana Maria Labin as Ginevra, along with a cast of young singers who have graduated from the Jardin des Voix.

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First part: 1h15


Second part: 1h10


Opera in three acts to a libretto after Ginevra, principessa di Scozia by Antonio Salvi, premièred in London in 1735.

Concert in Italian with French and English surtitles

The Royal Opera of the Château de Versailles

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