Pittsburgh Opera & Chatham Baroque to Present Historic Performances of ‘Ariodante’

By Nicolas Quiroga

Pittsburgh Opera continues the 2022-23 season with a performance of Händel’s baroque opera “Ariodante” in association with Chatham Baroque.

The showcase, which is scheduled for Jan. 21-29, 2023, will take place at the CAPA Theater in Pittsburgh.

Taking on the title role will be Jazmine Olwalia, with Emily Richter as Ginerva. Polinesso will be interpreted by Chuanyuan Liu with Daniel O’Hearn as Lurcanio. Rounding out the cast is Julia Swan Laird as Dalinda and Evan Lazdowski as Rè di Scozia. Antony Walker conducts while Crystal Manich directs.

These represent the first performances of the opera in Pittsburgh. “Ariodante” was first performed in London on Jan. 8, 1735. After those initial 11 performances and a few others, also in London, the following year, the opera was abandoned until 1926, when it was given new life in Stuttgart. It is one of three operas by Händel based on “Orlando furioso” following “Alcina” and “Orlando.”

The work spotlights Princess Ginevra and her beloved Prince Ariodante. When Ginevra rejects the power-hungry Polinesso, he makes Ariodante believe that Ginerva is unfaithful to him. Ariodante falls for the trap and attempts suicide while the King disowns his daughter Ginevra, who is now tasked with clearing her name and exposing Polinesso’s cruelty.