The Met Opera’s ‘Rodelinda’ encore screening tonight

You don’t have to get dressed up and drive downtown to see opera. Tonight several theaters in Los Angeles will be featuring an encore performance of the Metropolitan Opera’s production of “Rodelinda.” See the schedule below.
Opera is meant to be a whole evening– the running time is 4 hours and 5 minutes. Ian and I went to the original live screening, but due to illness had to exit at intermission. Audience members begin behind the scenes and we even get to see some of the audience members. Starring as the title character, Renée Fleming was in the original 2004 run and championed this Baroque opera. Although meant for a cozier venue than the Met, this opera features some beautiful voices and costumes, and the music is gorgeous.
Composed by George Frideric Handel (Nicola Haym is the librettist), the opera is not often performed because it was meant for a more cozy setting. Handel wrote “Rodelinda” in 1725 and is somewhat based on a play by Corneille.

Milan and the surrounding countryside, early 18th century. Bertarido, king of Lombardy and Milan, has been attacked and deposed by Grimoaldo, an ally of his estranged brother, Gundeberto. Gundeberto was killed in the battle and Bertarido vanished, leaving his queen, Rodelinda, and a young son, Flavio, in the power of the victorious ally, Grimoaldo. As a reward for defeating Bertarido, Grimoaldo was promised the hand of Bertarido’s sister, Eduige—which would grant him a legitimate claim to the throne at Milan. Eduige and Grimoaldo fell in love, but she would not marry him while mourning two brothers—one dead, one presumed so.

From abroad Bertarido has sent word of his own death, intending to return to Milan in disguise, rescue his wife and son, and escape to an anonymous life far from the vagaries of politics and the burden of government. The news of his death has devastated both Rodelinda and Eduige. Grimoaldo, intent on gaining the throne, weighs his options, counseled by two advisers—Garibaldo, his closest aide, and Unulfo, a member of Bertarido’s cabinet who maintains intimate ties with the royal family and is the only person who knows that Bertarido still lives.
With all the backstabbing and double dealing, it was probably meant to play more subtly but these actors must play to the cheap seats and in close up the expressions and actions might seem melodramatic. Also the contrast between the bad characters and the virtuous ones is clearly signaled by the different tones.  The deeper tones–Grimaoaldo’s tenor, Garibaldo’s bass and Eduige’s alto, mark them as the bad boys. Bertarido and Unulfo are altos and Rodelinda is a soprano.

The Met audiences loved  it well enough in 2006 for the Met to bring it back in 2011.

Production: Stephen Wadsworth
Set Designer: Thomas Lynch
Costume Designer: Martin Pakledinaz
Lighting Designer: Peter Kaczorowski
Fight Director: Steve Rankin

  • Rodelinda: Renée Fleming
  • Eduige: Stephanie Blythe
  • Bertarido: Andreas Scholl
  • Unulfo: Iestyn Davies
  • Grimoaldo: Joseph Kaiser
  • Garibaldo: Shenyang
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