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Fun Fact: Sorceress, opera were as popular as Harry Potter

George Frederic HandelGeorge Frideric Handel’s, right, opera based on the epic Italian Renaissance poem, Orlando Furioso, will be performed Aug. 6-7 by faculty, staff and student members of the College of Music Summer Opera Workshop. The opera’s title is the name of the poem’s beautiful sorceress. What is the name?

A. Jennifer

B. Jordin

C. Alcina

D. Fantasia

The correct answer is C: Alcina. Alcina is a character in the poem Orlando Furioso written by Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto. The earliest version is dated 1516. For centuries, the story of love, chivalry and magic was admired throughout Europe and used by many artists. Italian composers Antonio Vivaldi and Giacomo Puccini also were inspired by the poem.

Handel’s Alcina premiered in 1735. Alcina, a beautiful sorceress, lures men to her magical island to seduce and kill them. To rescue her lover, Ruggiero, from Alcina, the disguised female knight Bradamante journeys to the island and encounters magic, evil spirits and illusions.

Stephen Dubberly, opera music director, College of MusicOrlando Furioso was as popular in its day as the Harry Potter series of today. Everyone knew this story when Alcina premiered in 1735,” said Stephen Dubberly, right, opera music director. “Audiences will enjoy the story, the beautiful music and the amazing accomplishment of student singers and student orchestral players performing on a world class level.”

The opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles projected above the stage.

Music for the opera will be performed by a baroque orchestra. Baroque instruments are made with natural materials and tuned at a slightly lower tone to match the quality of sound popular during the Baroque Period from 1600 to 1750.

A discussion about the opera, In the Know, will be 45 minutes before each performance.

Alcina will be performed at 8 p.m. Aug. 6 and 3 p.m. Aug. 7 in the Murchison Performing Arts Center, Lyric Theater. Tickets are $10. 

  • Buy tickets: call 940-369-7802 or go online. Box office hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour prior to performances.
  • Enter to win a UNT T-shirt by sending an email to InHouse with "Alcina" in the subject by 5 p.m. Aug. 5. Winners will be selected at random from all responses.

Posted on: Tue 02 August 2011

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