Handel’s “Ah Mio Cor” from “Alcina”: Julia Kirchner and Operatic Puppetry

Handel’s 1735 opera, Alcina, tells a fantastic story of sorcery, harrowing adventure, and heartbreak.

The beautiful and treacherous Alcina seduces all of the men who land on her enchanted island. Eventually growing tired of each of her lovers, she transforms them into animals, plants, or stones. When the dashing knight, Ruggiero, falls under Alcina’s spell, his fiancée, Bradamante, seeks to rescue him. Bradamante is disguised as her brother, Ricciardo. Her plan is jeopardized when Alcina’s sister, Morgana, deceived by the disguise, abandons her previous lover, Oronte, to pursue ‘Ricciardo.’ With the help of a magic ring, Bradamante and her guardian Melisso manage to break the spell and free Ruggiero.

Alcina’s lamenting aria, Ah, mio cor!, occurs in the opera’s second act. Having learned of Ruggiero’s escape, Alcina realizes that she genuinely loves him. She cries out in anguish to the gods.

Handel’s opera was based on Ludovico Ariosto’s Italian epic poem, Orlando furioso, first published in 1516. (Two of the composer’s previous operas, Orlando and Ariodante were inspired by the same source).

At a Vienna performance in May of 2021, the addition of puppetry brought a new dimension to the drama. Credits for the spellbinding production include Manuela Linshalm (puppeteer), Nikolaus Habjan (Staging and puppet making), and Denise Heschl (costumes). Here, the German soprano, Julia Kirchner, performs Ah, mio cor!:

Featured Image: Julia Kirchner performing Handel’s “Alcina” 

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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