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Home » Composers » German Composers » GF Handel » Handel Operas » Orlando


By George Frideric Handel (Georg Friedrich Händel)

Score & Libretto

Handel, Orlando - Chrysander (HG) score (pdf).

Libretto of Handel's Orlando with the original English version (pdf).

Handel, Orlando - Libretto with the original English version, plus modern French & German translations for Decca

A concise, modern English translation was projected at Carnegie Hall during the performance of Orlando by the English Concert on March 13, 2016. It does not appear to have been published. The original English version is verbose and deviates significantly from the Italian text.


Handel, arranged by Jacobs. Orlando. (HWV 31, London 1733). DG-Archiv 0289 479 2199 8 (2 CDs, May 2014). Booklet (pdf). Details. René Jacobs, B'Rock. Orlando: Bejun Mehta, countertenor; Angelica: Sophie Karthäuser, soprano; Dorinda: Sunhae Im, soprano; Medoro: Kristina Hammarström, mezzo-soprano; Zoroastro: Konstantin Wolff, bass. A video of the production is online here. I watched about 1/2 hour of the first act before giving up in disgust. The staging is more of the same -- I hope they're not paying for new Star Wars costumes every year. As in other recent Handel operas, Jacobs adds and subtracts instruments, invariably to the detriment of the opera. In addition, he is now adding bars at the beginning and end of some movements, dulling down the impact of the recorder entry in the short sinfonia (which is also lengthened at the end) and the sudden string entry in "Itene pur tremendo". The first significant shock is hearing organ continuo in Zoroastro's "Lascia Amor e siegui Marti". Organ is added here and there, and where the organ isn't heard, there usually is a closely miced lute. It's hard enough to hear the harpsichord in this performance, but Jacobs performs the A section of Dorinda's "Ho un certo rossore" senza cembalo except in tutti passages, then adds the organ in the B section. Sunhae Im struggles in the aria, to which I would give a C- as opposed to A+ for Emma Kirkby's performance with original scoring on the vastly superior 1991 Hogwood recording. (Perhaps I'm guilty of grade inflation, as I gave Im an F for her performance in Spering's Siroe in 2004.) The cavatina "Ritornava al suo bel viso", marked "Largo, e staccato, mà piano" is performed faster and legato, with organ in the tutti passages. That's all I could take. There's so much terribly wrong that I could scarcely complain about Jacobs' cutting the repeat of the second part of the gigue. I find the student performances of Orlando arias from Innsbruck much more satisfying, e.g., here and here. The booklet contains the same, horrible, original English version as all the other booklets to date. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Handel. Orlando. (HWV 31, London 1733). Atma ACD2 2678(3 CDs, September 2013). Program with Italian/English libretto (pdf). Booklet (pdf). Alexander Weimann, Pacific Baroque Orchestra. Orlando: Owen Willetts, countertenor; Angelica: Karina Gauvin, soprano; Medoro: Allyson McHardy, mezzo-soprano; Dorinda: Amanda Forsythe, soprano; Zoroastro: Nathan Berg, bass. I haven't heard this yet. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Handel. Orlando. (HWV 31, London 1733). K617221 (3 CDs, March 2010). Details. Jean-Claude Malgoire, La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy. Orlando: Christophe Dumaux, countertenor; Angelica: Elena de la Merced, soprano; Dorinda: Rachel Nicholls, soprano; Medoro: Jean-Michel Fumas, countertenor; Zoroastro: Alain Buet, bass. Mediocre recording with lots of vibrato. Stick with Hogwood. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Handel. Orlando. (HWV 31, London 1733). L'Oiseau-Lyre 430 845-2 (3 CDs, 1991). Christopher Hogwood, The Academy of Ancient Music. Orlando: James Bowman, countertenor; Angelica: Arleen Auger, soprano; Medoro: Catherine Robbin, contralto; Dorinda: Emma Kirkby, soprano; Zoroastro: David Thomas, bass. Superb performance of this highlight of Handel's career as an opera composer. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Handel. Orlando. (HWV 31, London 1733). Erato 0630-14636-1 (3 CDs 1996). William Christie, Les Arts Florissants. Orlando: Patricia Bardon, contralto; Dorinda: Rosa Mannion, soprano; Medoro: Hilary Summers, contralto; Angelica: Rosemary Joshua, soprano; Zoroastro: Harry van der Kamp, bass. I listened once a long time ago and found it inferior to the Hogwood recording in nearly every respect. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP

Reissued on Warner Classics 2564-69653-2 (2008) in a 6-CD set with Christie's recording of Alcina. Librettos (pdf). US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP

Related Operas

Domenico Scarlatti. Orlando (Rome 1711). Libretto by Carlo Sigismondo Capeci.


Winton Dean. Handel's Operas, 1726-1741 (Boydell Press 2006).

R. Strohm, "Handel and his Italian opera texts"; "Comic traditions in Handel's Orlando." Essays on Handel and the Italian Opera. (Oxford University Press 1985).


Le magazine de l'opera-baroque page on Orlando

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