Bienen Ensembles

Handel’s Alcina

Part of the Evelyn Dunbar Early Music Festival

Thursday, May 25, 2023 at 7:30pm

Cahn Auditorium

Thursday and Friday, May 25 and 26, performances feature a 6:45 p.m. pre-performance talk by Dr. Alison C. DeSimone 

Joachim Schamberger, director; Stephen Alltop, conductor; Dunbar Festival Orchestra 

Alcina inhabits an enchanted island of her own making, where she holds the power to turn her lovers into animals, plants, and stones when she tires of a relationship. Sensing Alcina’s hidden desire for genuine love, Bradamante and Melisso set out to take her on a journey of healing and self-discovery; in the process, they hope to save the heroic Ruggiero from becoming yet another casualty in Alcina’s parade of transformed exes. But will Alcina’s own transformation come at a price? Handel’s tale of mistaken identities and amorous pursuits features some of his finest operatic music, from sublime melodies to spectacular vocal fireworks.  

Performed in Italian with English supertitles. Run time: Approximately 2 hours. 
Alcina contains material that may be upsetting to viewers, including depictions of physical violence, sexual content, and psychological trauma. 

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Tickets are $18 for the general public and $8 for students with valid ID.

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Evelyn Dunbar Early Music Festival

May 21-28 at the Bienen School of Music

About the Festival

The centerpieces of this year's Evelyn Dunbar Early Music Festival are Handel's Ode to St. Cecilia, a celebration of the art of music itself, and his opera Alcina, combining exquisite music with elements of magic and the supernatural. Distinguished featured guests include faculty violinist Carla Moore of the University of California, Berkeley, and guest scholar Alison C. DeSimone, who has written extensively on the intersections of music and theater in 18th-century England.

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Related Events

Alice Millar Spring Festival Concert: Handel's "Ode to St. Cecilia"
Panel Discussion on Handel's "Alcina"

Cahn Auditorium


600 Emerson Street
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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Cahn Auditorium is the largest performance space on campus, with more than 1,000 seats and an orchestra pit. The venue offers main floor and balcony seating. Larger Bienen School opera productions are held here.