Review: A Magical Mystery Tour: Santa Fe Opera’s ‘Alcina’

George Frideric Handel’s Alcina, which opened at Santa Fe Opera on Saturday night time, is a fantasy about how individuals distinguish deception from actuality when they’re enchanted by love and magic. Whether or not or not viewers of Handel’s time — the work premiered in 1735 — gave credence to magic per se, they accepted it as a theatrical conference. The composer crafted this piece to capitalize on shocking stage results, and the viewers tacitly agreed to droop expectations of realism and go alongside for the experience to the magical island of a sorceress.

Director David Alden asks the identical of right now’s viewers in his hyperactive, calmly surreal tackle this basic work. The principal stage-set includes (on the viewers’s left) a miniature proscenium theater of ornamented Classical design and (on their proper) a mural of Hokusai’s The Nice Wave off Kanagawa, a part of a seascape that extends throughout a lot of the actual stage. These parts sign the intersection of the enchanted isle of Handel’s opera and the theater through which Alden’s conception unrolls. Odd artifacts adorn the scene, together with animal skeletons that recommend a pure-historical past museum and a chandelier consisting of a spinal column culminating in a claw, from which a lightbulb is suspended. In the course of the Overture, members of the brand new-circus troupe Sensible Idiot New Mexico bustle concerning the stage and auditorium performing handstands, climbing partitions and stepping into brawls.

The catalyst of the motion is the sorceress Alcina, who manipulates the amatory passions of mortals in a quest to seek out real love for herself. She enchants her romantic prey, however once they stop to please her, she turns them into wild beasts, rocks or streams. The present object of her affection is Ruggiero; underneath her spell, he has uncared for his fiancée Bradamante, who (disguised as her personal brother) arrives pursuing him. Alcina’s sister, Morgana, has a crush on the cross-dressed Bradamante, as she makes very clear within the opening scene, the place she companions him/her in a tango. Subplots current additional entanglements. Until viewers cement the narrative of their minds beforehand, they could discover themselves typically questioning what on earth is occurring. In that sense, they are going to be handicapped a lot because the characters are, forging on via uncertainty hoping to seek out strong footing — which, in…

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