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(after "Orlando furioso"), (adapted from libretto L'isola della Alcina)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Catherine Naglestad ...
Alcina, Zauberin
Alice Coote ...
Ruggiero, von Alcina bezaubert
Helene Schneiderman ...
Catriona Smith ...
Morgana, Alinas Schwester
Rolf Romei ...
Oronte, Morganas Verlobter
Michael Ebbecke ...
Melisso, Bradamantes Erzieher
Claudia Mahnke ...
Oberto, auf der Suche nach seinem Vater
Heinz Gerger ...
Astolfo, Obertos Vater
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Soundtracks

Alcina, dramma per musica in tre atti (1735)
Music by George Frideric Handel (as Georg Friedrich Händel)
Annonymous libretto, adapted from the libretto of Riccardo Broschi's "L'isola d'Alcina",
based on Ludovico Ariosto's "Orlando furioso" (uncredited)
Conducted by Alan Hacker
Directed and dramturgie by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito
Performed by Catherine Naglestad, Alice Coote, Helene Schneiderman, Catriona Smith,
Rolf Romei, Michael Ebbecke, Claudia Mahnke, Heinz Gerger with Staatsorchester Stuttgart
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User Reviews

 
Soap Opera
8 June 2004 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

I took the precaution of reading a synopsis of Alcina on the internet before I watched this film. Apparently it is about a sorceress who constructs a magical island from her captives, turning them into trees, stones and waves. Handel's magical island is, in this production, a suburban living room with peeling wallpaper. The director probably wants to emphasise the universality of the emotions on display but he makes it hard work for his audience. Scenery and costume give an audience a quick clue as to what the drama is about. It helps our understanding if the king wears a crown and the witch has a pointed hat. In this film the witch, Alcina, wears a series of increasingly décolletage cocktail dresses until, in her big act three aria, one of her breasts actually pops out. In fact stripping while singing is a repetitive theme of this production as a cheap way of producing some visual business during the long da capo arias. The unfortunate cast has continually to play against the text but the production really goes off the rails in the final act when the magical elements should be most prominent. There is one ludicrous moment when Alcina is telling Oronte to kill a lion with his spear when it is perfectly clear that he is holding a pistol and he is pointing it not at a lion but at a masked man. The cast do brilliantly in the face of this directorial crassness. The singing is of a very high standard, particularly Catherine Nagelstad in the title role and Helen Schneiderman as Bradamante. A particular revelation to me was Alice Coote in the trouser-role of Ruggiero. Her voice is striking and her appearance in a dark suit with a mop of floppy hair is reminiscent of Hugh Grant in one of his disreputable charmer roles. I think the magical element of the opera is supposed to be covered by the huge mirror that covers the back of the set, people appear through the looking-glass, and pass from one side of the mirror to the other. Fans of the Marx Brothers will enjoy the homage to the mirror scene in Duck Soup.


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