Handels masterpiece Rinaldo is based on Torquato Tassos epic La Gerusalemme liberata, which tells the tale of the attempted seduction of the hero by the enchantress Armida against the backdrop of the First Crusade. Musicologists agree that Handel carried out a major cut-and-paste exercise with Rinaldo, as more than two thirds of his 1711 score was taken from earlier works. This particular production by Pier Luigi Pizzi, conceived in 1985 for Teatro Romolo Valli in Reggio Emilia, has since travelled to some twenty major opera houses worldwide. Putting aside practical cuts and a few displacements of musical numbers, its durable attraction lies in the gorgeous costumes and scenery, a stylish paragon of 'hyperbaroque' that deliberately avoids both literalism and cheap provocation. This lavish production was performed at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, which was the rst Italian theatre to re-open after the lockdown in 2020. The set design and direction were perfectly tailored to the health and safety requirements in force during the pandemic.
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