George Frideric Handel

5 February – 24 March 2022

Dates & venues

Don’t fall under her spell

Welcome to Alcina’s island paradise. All men who set foot there fall under her spell, but soon discover it’s all an illusion: Alcina is an enchantress whose island is nothing but a barren wasteland, its animals, rocks and trees are in fact her spellbound discarded lovers. When handsome knight Ruggiero appears, Alcina experiences true love for the first time. But when Ruggiero’s fiancée arrives on a mission to rescue him, Alcina’s magic is tested to breaking point…

Handel’s bewitching tale of deception, seduction, love and loss is bursting with heart-melting music, such as Ruggiero’s regretful farewell to the beauty of Alcina’s island. But to whom is he saying goodbye, and who will pay the ultimate sacrifice?


From £15*
  • Leeds Grand Theatre
  • The Lowry, Salford Quays
  • Theatre Royal, Nottingham
  • Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Running time
Approximately 3 hours

Sung in Italian with English titles

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Under 30s membership
New to opera discounts

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.

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We arrive on Alcina’s island with Ruggiero, a kidnapped knight who has been stolen from his fiancée Bradamante. On this island live Alcina and Morgana, two deadly sorceresses who are known for their seductive powers and magic. 

Bradamante arrives on the island, searching for Ruggiero with his former tutor, Melisso. Dressed in armour, Bradamante impersonates her brother Ricciardo. 

Morgana meets the two new island guests and immediately sets her sights on Ricciardo, abandoning her current lover Oronte. She takes them to Alcina’s court, where Bradamante is horrified to learn Ruggiero is besotted with Alcina and doesn’t remember his former life with her. 

In a jealous rage, Oronte challenges ‘Ricciardo’ to a duel before being broken up by Morgana. Oronte takes his fury out on Ruggiero, revealing exactly how Alcina treats her former lovers. 

Alcina plans to turn Ricciardo into an animal to prove her love to Ruggiero. Morgana begs her not to. 

Melisso gives a magic ring to Ruggiero, which cuts through the illusions of Alcina’s magic. He is disgusted by what he sees – a desert, populated with monsters. He realises he must run away but is afraid of Alcina’s revenge. 

‘Ricciardo’ reveals herself as Bradamante, but Ruggiero believes her to be just another one of Alcina’s illusions. Convinced of Ruggiero’s indifference, both Alcina and Bradamante despair.  

Alcina enters to transform Ricciardo into an animal, but Ruggiero quickly tries to convince her not to. In this moment, Alcina reveals her true and genuine love for Ruggiero. 

Morgana and Alcina realise they are being deceived, but it is too late. Alcina’s power depends on illusion and belief and as her true love is revealed, her magical powers slip away… 

Ruggiero destroys the source of Alcina’s magic and the island is both demolished and restored. Animals, rocks and plants all transform back into their human bodies.  

Alcina and Morgana are forgotten. 

Cast & creative

Black and white headshot of Maire Flavin
Máire Flavin


Black and white headshot of Patrick Terry
Patrick Terry


Mari Askvik


Fflur Wyn


Nick Pritchard


Claire Pascoe


Black and white headshot of Laurence Cummings
Laurence Cummings


Tim Albery


Black and white headshot of Hannah Clark
Hannah Clark


Thomas C. Hase


Ian Galloway



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