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Pierre Audi (stage director), Christophe Rousset (conductor) — With Sandrine Piau (Alcina), Maite Beaumont (Ruggiero), Angelique Noldus (Bradamante)
The indisputable protagonist of Alcina is the exquisite music—in rapid succession and staggering quantity—written by Handel in 1735. Pierre Audi knows it; he strips the stage of ornament and artifice, allowing the singers to incarnate the actions and emotions described in the score. Mathew Richardson's subtle, precise lighting spotlights the period costumes, dressing the work up in 18th-century artistic splendor.