(Opera - Copenhagen)
George Frederick Handel
In April/May 2022 I directed two productions in Copenhagen with singers from the Academy of the Royal Danish Opera, one of which was Handel’s Ariodante. This was a shortened version using a small 5 piece band and was performed on the same evening as Walton’s The Bear. I worked with the amazing Nicholas Kok as musical director and the band came from the Royal Danish College of Music’s Baroque Ensemble.
This is a piece about the fate of a woman who is given virtually no voice of her own; she is mainly spoken for and about. There are only two female characters and they are both treated as objects and play things - I had recently watched a Norwegian TV series about a group of extremely rich hedge fund managers, and was struck by the similarities in how they treated the women in their lives, so this is the world we dived into. A world which is drowning in alcohol and cocaine and in which a woman’s fate can be decided by the result of a game of Mortal Kombat on the Playstation.
We set it in a world where the women are always on show, always available to the men, though this only goes one way and when the women aren’t ‘needed’ they are confined to their rooms like creatures to be looked at behind glass. When travelling between their spaces of captivity and the ‘Man’s world’, they are ritualistically hooded and de-hooded as a sign of their subjugation.
We inevitably changed the ending…
And used some James Brown…
Director - Joseph W. Alford
Musical Director - Nicholas Kok
Dalinda - Ana Balestra
Ginevra - Louise McClelland Jacobsen
Polinesso - Cláudia Ribas de Sousa Silva
Ariodante - Þórgunnur Anna Örnólfsdóttir
Lurcanio - Kristian Bordoy
The King - Martin Vilbrand
Odoardo - Johannes Sejersted Bødtker
DKDMs Baroque Ensemble
Violins - Giuly Johannsen & Willian Crock
Viola - Dominika Dudek
Cello - Fanni Pelle