Rinaldo (HWV 7) is an opera by George Frideric Handel, composed in 1711, and was the first Italian language opera written specifically for the London stage. The libretto was prepared by Giacomo Rossi from a scenario provided by Aaron Hill, and the work was first performed at the Queen’s Theatre in London’s Haymarket on 24 February 1711. The story of love, war and redemption, set at the time of the First Crusade, is loosely based on Torquato Tasso’s epic poem Gerusalemme liberata (“Jerusalem Delivered”), and its staging involved many original and vivid effects. It was a great success with the public, despite negative reactions from literary critics hostile to the contemporary trend towards Italian entertainment in English theaters.

Handel composed Rinaldo quickly, borrowing and adapting music from operas and other works that he had composed during a long stay in Italy in the years 1706–10, during which he established a considerable reputation. In the years following the premiere, he made numerous amendments to the score. Rinaldo is regarded by critics as one of Handel’s greatest operas. Of its individual numbers, the soprano aria “Lascia ch’io pianga” has become a particular favorite, and is a popular concert piece.

Handel went on to dominate opera in England for several decades. It was revived in London regularly up to 1717, and was a revised version in 1731; of all Handel’s operas, Rinaldo was the most frequently performed during his lifetime. After 1731, however, the opera was not staged for more than 200 years. Renewed interest in baroque opera during the 20th century led to the first modern professional production in Handel’s birthplace, Halle, Germany, in 1954. The opera was mounted sporadically over the following thirty years; after a successful run at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1984,performances and recordings of the work have become more frequent worldwide.”Rinaldo” was the first Handel Opera to have found its way to the Metropolitan[1] The opera’s tercentenary in 2011 brought a modernized production at the Glyndebourne Festival.

Photos from Rinaldo


G.F. Händel

operamission, New York City (USA 2016)

Nicholas Tamagna as Goffredo
Randall Scotting as Rinaldo
Andrew Rader as Eustazio
Malia Bendi Merad as Almirena
Franco Pomponi as Argante
Christine Arand as Armida
Lieve Buzard as Sirens
Biraj Bakakaty as Il Mago

Conductor: Jennifer Peterson
Solo Harpsichord: Patrick Jones

Premiered: February 24, 1711 – Queen’s Theatre, London

Setting of Rinaldo:
Handel’s Rinaldo takes place in the late 11th century Jerusalem during the first crusades.