Thursday, July 30, 2009

Home Alone ... Or Papa Haydn's Armide As A Modern Opera And Papa Haydn As A Modern Opera Composer?


Dramma eroico in three acts Hob. XXVIII:2

Libretto by Nunziato Porta (?) after the anonymous libretto to Rinaldo, dramma per musica by Antonio Tozzi, based on the epos La Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem Delivered) by Torquato Tasso


"A mysterious sorceress from the Orient seduces a heroic Christian knight. He seems to forget military glory and his fatherland but in the end he does return to his army and intends to continue to fight against the heathens. The story of Armida and Rinaldo was set to music countless times and it fascinated poets, composers and audiences for centuries. Now as the Orient and the Occident come ever closer together with the same measure of curiosity and animosity, we again appear to be receptive for the tale from the time of the crusaders.

Haydn's opera doesn’t portray how a great love evolves and is then destroyed, but tells only of the final crisis in a relationship between two people. It describes in agonizing detail how the hero and the heroine become increasingly estranged: Rinaldo's past, the civilization he abandoned, catches up with him; Armida on the other hand is at the mercy of her love, but thereby loses herself, her identity and thus her attractiveness for Rinaldo. Thus, the dramma eroico is revealed as a chamber drama of archaic dimensions, and Haydn as a modern opera composer."

Christof Loy


Photo credit: © Monika Rittershaus 2009.


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